On Wednesday, Scottish Dance Theatre came to Festival Theatre to present for one night only Process Day & The Circle, two acts of contemporary dance performed by a group of 12 dancers to a striking electronic score.
Process Day is abstract and stunning. Through intense contortion and movement, it is able to express a kind of mechanical essence to much of human experience, an unfamiliar physical nature of feeling and thought. Sexuality, fear, cold, and loneliness are all presented in their raw materiality as the dancers tap into a spirit that is beyond words.
The movements themselves are reminiscent of that childish understanding of the body in which limbs become objects to be twisted and mangled, an understanding that remains within us into adulthood and is immediately enticing to an audience. The choreography is perfect – not one flinch or step is superfluous, and the movements come together throughout the act to form an impeccable and beautiful performance.
The Circle is less coherent than Process Day but it is certainly a spectacle. Like the former, it makes use of a continual to and fro between disjunction and union; a tight, throbbing circle explodes into a diaspora of crazed and disjointed dance which later finds itself once again constrained to the circle, and the cycle continues. It is hard to know exactly what to focus on, but that is certainly the point.
The two acts present the cutting-edge of contemporary dance: abstract, disconcerting, and entirely new, they express a truly modern conception of dance, one which has not lost the beauty or the nobility of classical ballet but which has moved forward to find new forms of expression.
Image: Capital Theatres