Laugh & Cry / Kokon (Double-Bill)

Laugh & Cry is an exploration of public and private personas, choreographed by Evangelia Kolyra, and performed by three dancers.

The dancers’ animated facial expressions conveyed a series of changing emotions, acting as a coherent group and then developing their own movements as the piece progressed. They held interwoven poses, pulsing in and out of each with a sharp intake of breath that nicely solidified their movements. Unfortunately, these tender tableau's started to become a little dull when repeated again and again with little variation.

The dancing frantically became more violent and controlling, which added an interesting element to the performance. Their physical handling of each others’ bodies culminated in a slow and considered wrestling match in which their turning, falling, caressing bodies became ever more forceful and domineering.

These moments of tension stood out as the highlights of this piece, however, they were overshadowed by the all too repetitive sequences. They would have done better to eliminate all speaking and attempts at comedy or cuteness, which distracted from the core of their performance.

The next performance, Kokon, choreographed by Justyna Janiszeweska, begins with four dancers moving swiftly around the stage, unnervingly darting and changing direction. This piece is all the better for its complete lack of speech, leaving the four bodies to do all the talking.

The four dancers achieve compelling changes in momentum, using dramatic and strange movements that are quite enchanting. The interactions between them is what makes this piece brilliant. A perfect combination of pushing against each other and moving as one made for a gripping watch.

The group lulled a little in the middle, which was a pity after such a strong start. They introduced some quite tired routines, such as standing in a line one behind the other, footlights casting heavy shadows, while they extended their arms to appear as though the lead performer had 8 arms. In addition, their timing was sometimes a little shaky, but they clearly had the ability to work as one, so with practice these sequences will hopefully tighten up.

Despite these issues, the performance of Kokon was strong; they understand the strengths of each performer and give space for those strengths to be realised.

This was an interesting show, with two quite different pieces of original choreography by some young and talented dancers. They could be a group to watch out for in the future.

Reviews by Troy Holmes

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The Blurb

It teases, it smiles, it screams. A double-bill of contemporary dance from two choreographers, revealing the stark differences between public and private personas, and exploring the transformative aspects of a woman's creative force.