Scottish Dance Theatre: Process Day & The Circle
- Lucy Ribchester
- 21 December 2019
Fascinating combination of cutting-edge choreography, club culture and music
Is the title of Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar's Process Day a pun? This 2016 piece, the first half of Scottish Dance Theatre's double bill, definitely carries the feeling of working through a dream, where things are half-recognisable but don't always make sense; like the nocturnal brain processing images that have struck it that day. It's a treasure trove of moods and contradictions, alluring and distressing, grotesque and sensual, familiar but original.
Arrhythmic strings pluck as a man twitches his chest in a spotlight. Dim figures rut upstage. A fist appears between a woman's legs and a strange threesome unfolds. Later this scatter of peculiar denizens will come together as one monstrous unit, moving like a crab or surrounding one chosen dancer in ritual. Eyal and Behar's alchemy is in mixing distress and beauty or humour with terror. The soundtrack picks up Hammer horror melodrama among its electro beats, and at one point a mass juddering drops into smooth movement, dizzying in its change of texture. It's electrifying.
The second piece, Emanuel Gat's The Circle, starts with a splash. The dancers look like a drop of paint in water, all colours and surreal textures and shapes in Thomas Bradley's costumes, flying around the stage. Gat's choreography plays with the ensemble as individuals and as one. They stalk and stare at one dancer, then fade in and out of trios and duets – marking each other, subtly switching leader. Watching it evolve is fascinating, but can't match Process Day for atmosphere.
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 29 Jan. Reviewed at Dundee Rep Theatre.