On a slick black stage, stabbed through the heart by a monolithic shard, dance troupe MAU terrified me with a tense, urgent, masterful piece with a throbbing, ritualistic score.
In Birds with Skymirrors, Samoan choreographer Lemi Ponifasio deals with the big issues: our relationship to the environment and to each other, relating the destruction of both to a false sense of isolation – a kind-of human malaise. Hard and bleak, yet rich in its allusion to history and the landscape, brawny dancers, particularly the women, used precise, unfettered gestures to communicate the urgency of a situation that we have become numb to. Contemporary dance can easily bore, and tough themes like this one can alienate. But I tell you, feeling mysteriously drained and empty after an hour on facebook, suddenly my life courses with meaning.
Mercat de les Flors,
Fri 18th and Sat 19th November, 9pm.
An interview with Lemi Ponifasio on YouTube.
The Guardian’s four-star review of the piece.