What Now Fesitval

On a total whim I stepped in to the What Now Festival at the Siobhan Davies Studios and had an absolute whale of a time.  I really miss contemporary dance and miss talking about it as well.

Of the three solo pieces I guess Neil Callaghan's A Certain Shaft was the one I most connected to.  Even so, I wasn't sure about it for a while as he just seemed to be spinning.  And spinning.  And spinning.   Looking at the audience members it was pretty clear a number had lost concentration, I too was hoping Neil would move into some other movement, but he did not.  And in that not doing was born rare a Dervish-esque meditation, like losing your day-time self in the dancing flames of a fire and watching almost with surprise as the subconscious reveals an insightful jewel of a whole life spent spinning with no seeming end.  

Criticism of pieces is getting harder.  None of the performances on show today would I classify as "Dance".  Perhaps Performance Art would be a more appropriate term.  And, if so, how to evaluate a piece where the norms and expectations are unknown.  It almost feels like, so long as the artist gets something from it, or is "developing" as a practitioner, then that is good enough.  I'm not sure it is good enough, for me, as an audience member paying with both my time and money, to be presented with something that I cannot connect to.  

In conversation with Neil afterwards he said he too wasn't sure if the piece was really connecting with the audience at all.  This is the performers eternal damnation, to not know if you have done enough, done too much, been authentic, been worthy.  I found it easily the most engaging piece of the day, and for that, thank you to Neil and the Siobhan Davies Studios.