Inspired by the role of electricity in the body, Motionhouse’s Charge is an exhilarating evening of dance circus by a company of brave, daring and incredibly skilled performers.
In the third production in a triptych of work from Motionhouse Artistic Director Kevin Finnan, the performers and creative team have worked with Professor Frances Ashcroft of the University of Oxford, studying in detail the science behind electronic charges in the body.
The production explores humans as electrical machines, the energy signals in our nerve fibres that control thoughts and actions, such as the beating of our hearts, our senses, impulses and emotions.
At the start, the lights go up on a performer, swinging upside down above another, still on the floor. The soundscape crackles in – fizzing and buzzing in sharp reminders of its electrical heart. As the performance gets going, the lighting flashes and sparks.
The audience is immersed in a journey of electricity through the human life – from thought, conception, birth and first exploration of the world, to the energy between bodies.
There are moments when the whole audience holds their breath, as the performers perfectly manoeuvre, pulsate, twist around the set, leap fearlessly and drop from huge heights.
The tiniest of electrical signals form the most poignant and touching moments, such as the six dancers coming together within the projection of a human heart beating.
The projection is brilliantly integrated within a flexible and dynamic set, which is at once a huge canvas and a tool that the performers dive into, twist around and hang off. Film footage works with the set to create a clever illusion, hiding or opening up spaces to explore the different possibilities for interaction between film and live performance.
Circus elements, including some athletic aerial and soaring silk work, are intricately choreographed to fit beautifully with the dance to form a thrilling, breath-taking and heart-stopping performance.
Before the show was a five minute curtain raiser, inspired by the main piece, from promising performers aged 16-19 from five colleges across the West Midlands.
On tour until 28 June.
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