Ballet Lorent: Designer Body
It’s not hyperbole when I say that Liv Lorent is one of the most exciting, dynamic and emotionally engaging choreographers to have worked in Scotland in recent years. The reviews, awards and audience reaction bear it out, and all those who have seen Lorent’s work with Scottish Dance Theatre will know what I mean. Both Luxuria and tenderhook filled the senses and reminded you why dance is such a powerful artform.
So, much excitement surrounds the fact that for the first time in the company’s history, balletLORENT is heading to Scotland. And with Designer Body, we’ll see a new side to Lorent’s choreography. ‘When I work with my own company, that’s my chance to push myself more radically,’ says Lorent. ‘I indulge myself a bit more when it’s on my own terms, and take some risks.’
Those risks involve seven dancers performing on continuously revolving plinths, a specially commissioned score by Zoviet:France played in surround sound, a wind machine, extensive costumes and atmospheric lighting design. Like giant record players, the plinths turn up to a speed of 20rpm, while the dancers slowly de-robe.
‘At the beginning, the body is the most designed it can be,’ says Lorent. ‘They’re wearing hats, coats, heavy costumes and make-up – all the man-made and artificial things we do to disguise ourselves everyday. Then, over 50 minutes, we take it all away. And because there are several layers, there’s a real sense of metamorphosis.’
Performed in the round, the piece allows us to view the performers from every angle – both clothed and naked. How did Lorent’s dancers respond to the challenge? ‘They were all quite nervous and none of them found it easy,’ she says. ‘Which is also important because if they did, it would have a completely different look. This isn’t nudity in dance as I have experienced it before – the dancers are standing there alone with nothing to protect them. It’s an exceptionally vulnerable position to be in and feels quite overwhelming for the dancers – but I knew that aesthetically, it would be beautiful.’
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 21 Mar