STAGE REVIEW: Interrupted Souls @ Dance City (4.6.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The first thing you notice is the skirt: the black stretchy fabric that becomes a natural extension of the dancer himself. The fabric adds a fresh flexibility of expression to the dance. It’s reminiscent of the purple tube of fabric used by Martha Graham in her iconic solo Lamentation. Except that it is not. This is different. This is Lorenzo Pagano’s personal way of expressing that natural desire to withdraw and hide away and wrestle internally without the world watching. He is doing his own thing. For the dancer, this was an entirely new way of working, as the skirt took on a life of its own and became a living thing.

Drawing on the choreographer’s own experience of injury, which stopped him dancing for six months, Interrupted Souls explores those unexpected interruptions that stop us in our tracks. Everyone can identify – it may be illness or injury or bereavement or relationship breakdown – and everyone can use this visual piece to explore their own personal life experience.

The choreographer is Lorenzo Pagano, who has been a dancer at the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York since 2012. The dancer is Eliot Smith, the artistic director of the Eliot Smith Company based on the Newcastle Quayside. This project was made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign with 35 backers. Dance City offered free rehearsal space for this new work, allowing Lorenzo and Eliot to share the experience with other great artists in the building.

It’s been quite a week. Lorenzo has been working in the studio with Eliot five hours a day. He’s taken an open Contemporary Dance Class and a Masterclass for professional dancers. The whole week has culminated in this moment. This performance.

The contrasts in this work provide a stimulating diversity of experience and emotion – moments of withdrawal followed by a desire to reach out; a jittery nervousness that resolves into peaceful acceptance; a sense of going through the motions of everyday life interrupted by sudden intensity of purpose and action. Eliot Smith performs the dance with the depth of emotion and quality of technique that he brings to all of his performances.

The performance lasts only eight minutes, but its significance will resonate for a long time to come. This unique work encapsulates a myriad of responses to a universal experience. A glimpse into an emotional journey that proclaims ‘You will find your own way. You will find a way to make it work. You will find a way to keep moving.’

Interrupted Souls will have its premiere at the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance which takes place from Saturday 13th until Saturday 20th August.

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