Dance review: For Now I Am
Choreographer and solo performer Marc Brew presents a striking expression of narrative dance
Both through his own company, and in collaboration with Scottish Ballet, Marc Brew has established his credentials as a bold choreographer for ensembles. His acute awareness of the potential hidden in the combination of disabled and ballet-trained dancers gives his work a distinctive identity, reconciling the lyrical elegance of ballet with a contemporary dynamism. In For Now I Am, however, Brew has made a solo that examines his experience as a performer, a companion piece to Remember When, which recalled memories from before the car accident which changed his life, and body.
Jamie Wardrop's sensitive projections surround Brew's prone body with flickering images of water: drawing attention to the dancer's body, Brew uses an immediate and clear physical vocabulary to reveal his periods of doubt, recovery and spiritual regeneration. The motif of water, echoed in the musical score, suggests healing but also isolation, with Brew variously laid out on a beach and perched at the edge of a pool. Without becoming too obvious, For Now I Am moves through moods and emotions, as he comes to terms with his new situation.
With his head shaved, and upper body exposed, Brew is wrapped in a large sheet, before emerging as if from a chrysalis. The episodic structure takes the journey from his initial recognition of an injured body, through acceptance and testing his new form, before concluding with an ambiguous and dramatic finale, leaving Brew literally hanging from the ceiling. While it is explicitly based on his own experience, Brew abstracts it through dance, presenting a story that is familiar in its rhythms of despair and triumph. His genius is in being able to connect his life to wider concerns, and his biography becomes a symbol of life's challenges.
Rooted in Brew's raw physical presence, For Now I Am is nevertheless a spiritual choreography, that becomes a gentle meditation on suffering. Melancholic, yet passionate, it is a striking expression of narrative dance that is imaginative and thoughtful.
Reviewed at Tramway, Glasgow, Tue 26 May.