Coiscéim's performers 'revel in the choreography' of Pageant
Project Arts Centre, Dublin ****
Put simply, most artists hate revealing how they create work. In Coiscéim Dance Company’s Pageant, choreographers David Bolger and Muirne Bloomer have not only brought the thorny question to the stage, but also affirm that true artistry lies in the everyday.
Unlike some self-important works that present their process onstage, Pageant isn’t about showing off conceptual virtuosity or deft choreographic hand. That’s just not Coiscéim’s style. Instead, Bolger – the company’s artistic director – continually undermines himself as a figure of authority, like finishing a solo only to be told by the other dancers that the solo had already been cut.
Through this self-deprecation, he also plays down his most spectacular choreographies. The opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics or the Ryder Cup might have been impressive, but the real genius lay in envisioning the crowd movement with Bloomer while sitting around a kitchen table. Similarly, the everyday kitchen-table lives of dancers are similarly important to the creation of choreography as they bring their life experiences into the rehearsal studio.
The entire creative team is responsible for Pageant’s warmth and humour. Sinéad McKenna’s excellent lighting combines delicately balanced shadow play with large brush-stokes of colour, while Ivan Birtwhistle and Vincent Doherty’s music keeps the action bubbling along and colours less serious moments of reflection with simple guitar strokes.
The dancing on the opening night isn’t uniformly sharp, but the performers – all Coiscéim regulars – revel in the choreography with commitment and good humour.
Bolger and Bloomer’s choreographic prowess cut loose in the finale, to Ravel’s Boléro. Here the group unweave an utterly compelling sequence of movement, full of interactions ruled by split-second timings.
Runs until March 2nd, then tours nationwide