Tom Dale Company present Refugees of the Septic Heart, a multimedia dance piece that combines projected video, motion graphics, thumping soundscapes and expressive and impressive dance. The production is an explorative piece of physical dance theatre that relies on the six talented performers and the digital artistry of Barret Hodgson to present the development of the human consciousness.
We begin by looking at the stars in the solar system through visuals projected across the backdrop and floor of the theatre space. This creates an immersive experience in which the imagery consumes the performers and heightens their physical performance; the projections seem to give them extra energy and verve in an already exhaustive dance piece.
The original score for Refugees of the Septic Heart was composed by electronic musician Shackleton and at times it is explosive. The performers react to the beats and rhythms with bursts of energy and the dynamism between the dancers is obvious. They interact with one another with ease, tumbling and weaving their way around the stage and making full use of the performance space.
The performance progresses to convey different themes, which include absurdity, humour and the pressures of modern life. This is represented through costume, with the cast changing to wear shirts and business suits. Here we are in the city and in the company of six go getters who worship money and the media. The mood of the piece feels slightly antiseptic, with grey placid lighting bringing down the tone. The projections also convey this mood to show a variety of television screens that rapidly switch channel. This change of pace is welcome, but the piece lingers too long within this cold world and this makes it difficult to warm to the performers during this segment.
Refugees of the Septic Heart is a brilliant piece of dance theatre. Tom Dale is a clearly a choreographer who knows how to convey an abstract narrative through movement and dance and the use of digital media complements the dancers, creating an immersive experience that is visually stunning.