- Miles Hedley
MAPDANCE at Laban
Humanity at its most primordial was at the heart of three new works performed with great artistry, wit and menace by the Mapdance company at the Laban building’s studio theatre.
This University Of Chichester troupe of 11 girls and one guy bared their souls and their psyches as they danced, talked, grunted and even, in one memorably sinister scene featuring Ailish Hassett, screamed while interpreting pieces by acclaimed choreographers Didy Veldman, Anthony Missen and Jose Agudo.
Veldman’s a. part investigated the contradictory allure of individuality and conformity, a dichotomy cleverly expressed when dancer Corrie Mckenzie (pictured with Hassett) took a mic to tell us about her Scottish roots while the rest of the company swayed to the strains of a mariachi band.
Missen’s Bucket List B looked at our capacity for dodgy motives, with a joyful Candi Staton disco sequence turning ugly and a particularly effective silent gang confrontation referencing the famous video of the Run DMC vs Jason Nevins hit It’s Like That.
Agudo’s Inside The Animal delved even deeper into the existential swamp with a contemplation on reflexes and instincts that truly underscored how little human nature has changed during the so-called ascent of Man.
But just in case we were left feeling too doom-laden, the evening ended with a revival of Liz Aggiss’ fabulously upbeat History Repeating… a tongue-in-cheek but affectionate tribute to the history of dance that was often laugh-out-loud funny.
I particularly loved the nods to vaudeville heroes Wilson and Keppel, Michael Jackson’s Thriller zombies, the West Side Story finger-clickers and, best of all, the dying fish ballet. Brilliant fun – and, like the rest of the programme, brilliantly danced.