Dance Theatre of Ireland's productoin of Joanne Leighton's work is seeped in architecture, site, place and space. Drawing its inspiration from the work of Swiss architect Bernard Tshumi it is also fed by literary and cinematic sources to create a powerful multi-textured work featuring original music and soundscapes by Peter Crosbie. With choreography by guest choreographer Joanne Leighton (Belgium) and featuring an international cast, this work is performed with the audience seated on four sides and is powerfully danced by "the most respected dance company in the Country" Sunday Times
PREMIERED November 6th-9th, 2002,
Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire
“Leighton has pioneered a kind of multidirectional style of dance, but the first thing that strikes one in this show is the speed and pace with which all six dancers execute Leighton’s complex, multi-layered and extremely subtle moves. The dancing is pure, abstract and beautiful.
Music, read text and scintillating performance by the dancers make this a challenging, invigorating and beautifully provocative evening of dance.
Styliani Lamprinou walks out into the 10 by 10 metre white space, surrounded on all sides by the audience…She could be one of us…In the opening sequence, she plays with the audience…extremely charming as she subsequently addresses the audience directly through the writing and the language of her body…there are themes of re-creation and duplication in her simulations of thoughts, contacts and feelings. She is the prologue.
Leighton is deeply influenced by architecture, issues of space run throughout the show; at times all six dancers move together to the four corners of the dance space. Or a dancer sits down with the audience, closing the space between performer and viewer…or leaves the space entirely… Ingeniously, the lights go out entirely in The Simulacra Stories, thus evincing another way in which space appears to disappear… all this makes us question our own position as observers or participants.
Patrick Brennan, The Irish Examiner
“It is the business of art to trigger an image or representation in the mind of another (and) Dance Theatre of Ireland uses the lithe bodies of its dancers to do this, push(ing) boundaries to create different kinds of images and representations every season. .The work of Swiss achitect Bernard Tsumi, dean of architecture at New York’s Columbia University, has said architects should be interested not in the technology of construction, but in the construction of technology…a great starting point for (this) dance – the fluid, if impermanent, piecing together of changing spaces in time….and the performance is in the round to emphasise its architectural and sculptural elements. “The Simulacra Stories” proves again that the challenge of risk, focuses artistic energy to spectacular effect. “
Christine Madden, The Irish Times
“As the show begins a dancer requests an audience member to time her for six minutes before proceeding to “create” and “modify” a series of numbered gestures. She repeatedly names and re-enacts the movements, once with the words “I’ll make a copy of that”. Her words draw attention to the modern technological processes used in the creation of words, music, images or movements. The idea is echoed later when dancers slowly adopt each other’s floor postures, like shadows.
This sense of rawness – paring things back to the mechanics behind the final product - is also implied by the first set of costumes: muted beige and whites, one shirt with the words “pocket here” scrawled over a dotted square. These raw, unfinnished garments (with shockingly red underwear beneath) are later replaced by sequinned eveningwear… The dancing may be mesmerising, but the experience is not one of passive observation…exhilarating.
….there are also several laughs to be had…At one point, a deep hesitant voice tells the story of a girl who had 6 toes on her right foot, as a single dancer illustrates her “skeletal escapades”.
Cristin Leach, RTE ACT
“It may be only 10 years but Dance Theatre of Ireland has wasted no time in carving out an internationally acknowledged niche for itself. By diligently sticking to …excellence and innovation in choreography, music and design, it has developed a reputation for producing dance theatre that is passionate, evocative, sophisticated and pure…”
Sophie Gorman, Sunday Independent
“Joanne Leighton, Australian born and Brussels based is the choreographer of this intelligent, controlled and beautifully performed work. It was a pleasure to watch the ensemble of Robert Connor, Marie Francoise Garcia, Adriana Sulzer Goncalves, Alexandre Iseli, Syliani Lamprinou and Edouard Pelleray interpret this challenging work with stunning precision, grace and chemistry. These dancers can move seamlessly…highly fluent as they splice the space at speed …backwards, forwards and sideways…and so alert to each other…
The final image of dancer Alexandre Iseli moving with his own elongated shadow on the white squared floorspace brought to full circle the interrogation of the relationship of moving bodies and space which is at the heart of the new work. Beautifully performed”
Seona MacReamoinn, The Sunday Tribune
“… the primacy of the body with its symbolism and resonances shone through. .. The dancers present the material in an honest and open manner, engaging in eye contact with members of the audience…eschewing overtly mannered performances….their bodies providing the perfect conduit for the dance, the movement energised but always seamless and flowing…Bodies constantly changing direction and flailing limbs always somehow centred by some internal gyroscopic force…outstanding…Performed in the round on a white dance floor subtly taped into squares…the additive processes in Peter Crosbie’s music gently push the evolving movement patterns….brilliant .”
Seaver, The Irish Times
Ch. Joanne Leighton; Music: Peter Crosbie Lighting: Trevor Ahearn; Costumes: Anne Gregory; Dancers: Robert Connor, Marie-Francoise Garcia, Adriana Sulzer-Goncalves, Alexandre Iseli, Styliani Lamprinou, Edouard Pelleray