This double-bill of dance pieces both star an impressive and athletic Elsa Couvreur – often centre stage without even music.
The Sensemaker is the tale of a woman’s struggle with a Kafka-esque bureaucracy. This play is in part commentary on the arbitrary nature of dealing with faceless machines, telephones and surveillance; part tale on the nature of the hoops we are increasingly forced to jump through as power dynamics in so many areas of our lives widen.
Couvreur dances alone for the whole hour. She follows the increasingly difficult, challenging and bizarre instructions of an unnamed disconnected and clearly mechanised voice as these get ever more bizarre. There are times when this becomes uncomfortable. Having made it clear they can see where she is, they then make her strip completely naked. Which goes on for long enough for the audience to feel uncomfortable and voyeuristic – which is perhaps the point.
For me, the piece ran slightly too long. The original was only 30 minutes and I would have liked to have seen this to compare. But in its length, it did manage to invoke the oppression of mundanity that dealing with such an unreasonable and unhuman system engenders.
The Anchor on the other hand is full of utterly charming joy. The tale of two lovers coming together, falling apart, communicating, miscommunicating and ending up together was expressed with passion, joie de vivre and a dance that showed the incredible core strength of both participants.
Again this piece had no original music, but played well with the classics it used and the silences were well-punctuated with the sounds of their lovers pursuit.
This was – perhaps the easier piece to love. It had all the fun and silliness of a new relationship. And perhaps that made it more accessible than The Sensemaker. This was an emotional space you wanted to be in.
Overall, both works were impressive and enjoyable if occasionally somewhat baffling.