My thoughts on Proximity (Her Majesty’s Theatre, 4 March 2012):

I felt the complex thoughts and ideas in this piece were communicated much more effectively and possibly more thoroughly developed compared to those in Be Your Self, a 2009 work by Gary Stewart based on the same conceptual themes of selfhood/neuroscience.

While I found Be Your Self intriguing and a bit shocking, I am not sure I resonated with the work. I could definitely appreciate Proximity more: loved the burst of colours, the display of emotions, the statements sewn on to the costumes, especially one that said:

How you see is a form of trained blindness.

My friends said they wished it had a bit more of a storyline or plot, but I expected this sort of obscurity from Stewart’s work and found that refreshing.

The video effects came together cleverly, as Gary purposed: “…not just great dance and great video, but using them in a framework of conceptual rigour.” I haven’t seen that many shows but this must be the best show I have seen which weaved the two elements together in a way that allowed both to shine and hold their own. (For those interested, the video artist and engineer is Thomas Pachoud with support of Didascalie.net.)

As for the dancers, allow me to just get one small criticism out of the way: I wanted to see tighter, neater dancing, especially in the segments that were clearly supposed to be uniform.

Having said that, I was really captured by the raw movement and emotion. The partner work was breathtaking. The girls were exceptional. Tara Soh, I thought, especially shone with her expression, confidence and this intriguing smirk on her face that I couldn’t take my eyes off!

I also found it interesting they had a “Neurobiology Consultant” listed in the credits. Read the artistic director’s interview with Prof Ian Gibbins here. See what everybody else said here.

Congratulations on a great show. I walked away with many new dreams.

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