Thursday 13th October 2016
Blue Elephant Theatre, Camberwell, London
SIGNS Monica Nicolaides
The Blue Elephant theatre launches this year’s brilliantly-named Elefeet Dance Festival with SIGNS by Monica Nicolaides. Tucked away in Camberwell, the Blue Elephant has firmly established itself as a venue for new dance, working with choreographers to nurture ideas through regular scratch nights and performance opportunities.
In this vein, Nicolaides presents SIGNS as a work in progress. A duet between dancers Laura Heywood and Erena Bordon Sanchez explores British sign language (BSL) and contemporary dance. Inspired by Colin Thompson‘s poem “If I told you I was deaf would you turn away”, it tells a story of thwarted communication, a stylised glimpse of the barriers experienced by a deaf person trying to navigate everyday relationships in a hearing world.
Heywood and Sanchez perform tightly woven choreography with technical assurance. They create a dynamic that captures the fermenting tension when good intentions slip between the cracks of misunderstanding.
Nicolaides uses Heywood and Sanchez with a nuanced calligraphy, fostering a intricate clarity between the two languages. She could afford to live a little more dangerously, exploiting the fractures between these vocabularies. Here, she may find a deeper resonance between the guts of the movement and the emotional commentary she is seeking to bring to life.
SIGNS has the potential to be a fierce of physical theatre, but Nicolaides has to step out of her comfort zone, pushing past an academic dissection of co-existing lexicons and, instead, sinking her teeth into the simmering frustration of Thompson’s poem.