Review: Neither Either

Liz Roche Company’s latest collaboration with Maiden Voyage Dance takes a tumble with the words of Seamus Heaney

Venue: Project Arts Centre

Date Reviewed: November 13th, 2014


Phone: 1

Fri, Nov 14, 2014, 12:43


Neither Either

Project Arts Centre


Clarity and control epitomise this collaboration between Liz Roche Company and Maiden Voyage Dance until the line between dance and meditation becomes blurred.

Inspired by Seamus Heaney’s idea of “the strain of being in two places at once, of needing to accommodate two opposing conditions of truth simultaneously”, choreographer Roche’s movement mirrors Heaney’s elegant words.

But like the words from whence they spring, the choreography also reveals layered meanings, providing a quartet of exquisite dancers the chance to investigate what it’s like to feel divided or torn. The dance becomes a gentle exploration of one’s internal landscape, with brief spoken references to Carl Jung, which thread the movement to ideas beyond the stage.

Neither Either marks the second co-production between Northern Ireland’s Maiden Voyage Dance and the Liz Roche Company. As the performance develops, we realise the two places to which Heaney refers can be literal, geographical or more internal, as alluded to in the spoken text. Dancers Katherine O’Malley, Philip Connaughton, David Ogle and Vasiliki Stasinaki quickly establish a relationship so that when one dancer shakes the other feels the reverberations. When members of the quartet move in harmony, it suggests a sense of completeness.

Composer Neil Martin’s striking score becomes an external force tethering the foursome to something beyond just themselves. The music serves as a reminder that despite our individual struggles, time and life prods on. As the piano draws the movement forward, the dancers make beautiful connections, then separate, like thoughts and emotions coming to life. When they tumble over each other, bolster each other and then fall, we wonder what issue they are trying to solve. Then finally they settle into the same pattern.

Because solid links are established between the dancers, music, and Ciaran Bagnall’s effective lighting and lattice-like set, stability sets in towards the end. It’s as though the artists have resolved the dichotomy that Heaney puts forth, or at least come to peaceful terms with it.

Until Saturday, then tours to Touring to Enniskillen (Wed), Armagh (Thur), Lisburn (Fri) and Limerick (Nov 27)