Time/Dropper, choreographed and performed by Jose Agudo, is a raw, visceral and masculine performance evoking a sense of distorted tension. From the silent beginning, a hunched figure on a bare stage with nothing more than a spotlight to accompany him, the solo communicates a distancing coldness. In contrast, the piece builds to fascinating machine-like hypnotic snap-cuts and fast flowing movements. At times Agudo’s performance is so rapid that he appears to be more than one body enlivening all areas of the stage. Richard Statham’s lighting design enhances these movements and supports still moments as well. Agudo’s powerful, focused performance remains the strong centrepiece throughout. The dancer has roots in Spanish flamenco and touches of that style heighten the flow of the piece.
Without flashy tricks, Agudo allows his intense physicality to dominate. His intent as a choreographer is to create interplay between movement and light, and, though cold and aloof as the performance may seem to some, I believe he succeeds.
Less successful in its outcome is Luke Murphy’s Driftwood, a tale in movement of the results of natural disasters. It’s an interesting subject matter conveyed in an emotional performance, and a showcase of Murphy’s skills. However, technical elements tend to overwhelm the essential heart of the piece rather than an aid it. Murphy’s main achievement comes when he dances alone in a serene, calm light, which allows his own performance to shine through.
Whilst Agudo’s solo has room to be developed further, Murphy’s solo can afford to cut back to the essentials of the performance. Being in a double bill tends to lend itself to comparisons between the performers, but both are strong overall and it is an interesting and diverse program powerfully and passionately performed.