La Loba is a mythological woman who wanders the Earth collecting animal bones, bringing dead creatures back to life with her singing, and occasionally laughing at humans. This dance piece by the Czech Lenka Vagnerová & Company dramatises the existence of La Loba and her encounter with a mortal woman.
Despite benefiting from a few cuts, La Loba is a visually fascinating show that bridges the gap between dance lovers and the general public.
Beautifully staged, La Loba relies on two very strong performers – dancer Andrea Opavská and singer Jana Vébrová, to draw the audience into a dusty, earthy world where legend and reality cross paths.
Vébrová’s singing is incredibly powerful, and one is mesmerised by Opavská’s dancing in response to La Loba’s mournful and eerie chanting. Lenka Vagnerová’s choreography, which mostly draws on contemporary dance, does justice to the myth of the old wandering woman. The two women on stage create a delicate tension between each other, often broken by Opavská’s smooth gliding and rolling on the stage. The ground appears her natural element and she crawls, jumps and pirouettes over it with no apparent effort. The women’s attachment to the earth is emphasised by expert use of lighting design and by the few chosen props, which mostly consist in root vegetables and animal bones.
Ivan Acher’s soundtrack is beautifully accompanied by Vébrová’s singing, growling and live sound effects. These, however, are repeated one too many times and some sequences are overdrawn. The growling, for example, is surprising at first but gets tiring pretty quickly, and Vébrová’s skills at imitating a raging dog is not enough to carry out a long scene. Likewise, other sequences appear a little gimmicky, the humour wearing thin faster than the scenes proceed.
Despite benefiting from a few cuts, La Loba is a visually fascinating show that bridges the gap between dance lovers and the general public. It connects folklore with contemporary dance, original music and beautiful staging, and as such it has the potential to charm a large audience. Lenka Vagnerová & Company offer the Edinburgh Fringe Festival an interesting glimpse into an unexplored world, which well deserves a peep.