Review: Rob Heaslip Dance-‘FREAGRA/ A Blurred Expanse’

Rob Heaslip Dance FREAGRA  A Blurred Expanse Photo credit Sid Scott .jpg

Photo: Sid Scott

This is the post-rave, post- MDMA generation, with movements fragmented and slippery. Isolations are at first uncertain, like molecules breaking away from one big juddering cluster. It takes a while for Rob Heaslip’s tribal warriors in loose rainbow acid clothes to find their own identities, submerged as they initially were within each other.

Fiona Jeffries and Karen Smail attempt to emulate the others, but are struggling with trust issues; battles for supremacy and harmony alike are well-starred, but the narrative becomes abstracted in ever-shifting dreamlike surrealism.This seems intentional- Heaslip’s choreography is ever restless, limbs rubbery and group dynamics always on the brink of implosion.

He seems to suggest that if this is the hippy dream, it’s more nightmare than Woodstock, more Stones at Altamount than peaceful protest vibes. It feels like the end of something, reinstated by the creepy lighting by Rob Moloney and Ross Whyte’s come-down dance music, with distorted voices evocative of robot children. Silver and white balloons sit to one side ignored, like a party which has soured.

Perhaps it’s the nineties filtered through modern eyes, or perhaps it’s a comment on the trend for nineties culture co-opted by millenials. Either way, when the male domination stops being implied and the bodies turn into well-honed machines, the group-work is really exciting and redolent of hip-hop crews at their most sleek.


(Lorna Irvine)

Rob Heaslip Dance FREAGRA  A Blurred Expanse Photo by Sid Scott

Photo: Sid Scott

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