Reverie is a place, home to four people in black tulle and silk. At times, a cluster of balloons replaces a head, at others, they are held on string with childlike innocence. In this place, sounds are distant, as if on the moon. The piece, first seen in Athens in 2020, re-emerges after many pandemic curtailments as the opening of London’s Dance Umbrella Festival.
Synne Lundersgaard slowly parades and surveys with chin raised proud. A sheet of astroturf trails her, another lays upstage, creased like an abandoned duvet. Her face suggests she knows something we don’t. Free of this grass gown, her movement is fairylike. But she has a temper, prone to outbursts that send her from floating to flailing. When the others arrive, they carry her, passing her like a jewel that cannot be dropped.
William James wears a grey headdress, an angry knot. He stutters, frustrated like the labyrinth on his head, and navigates the space with awkward, stilted progressions. Nathan Goodman dances on now flattened grass, a border that effectively encloses our attention – he swivels indecisively, but his cutting movements are assertive with tightrope precaution.
Joined by Virginia Poli, the four confront each other through tender vignettes; in these expressions we thankfully find some grounding amidst the mythical abstractions elsewhere. Later, they collide in a flurry. Tangling themselves, they duck, spin, and swipe at negative space. When phrases repeat, precision loses to exhaustion, but an urgency is present that wasn’t before.
Reverie uses spectacle. Visual deception unfolds soundlessly, save the prop that unexpectedly pops. Balloons follow James like curious white orbs, tethered invisibly. Legs vanish behind the grass gown as Lundesgaard rises high, leaving gravity behind. Often, darkness falls, and a handheld light is guided by two scurrying legs. What cannot be seen enforces scrutiny of what can.
Whether a fixed reality, or just passing through, I am uncertain. But when watching, we exist in our own in-between state, no doubt dreamlike. In this place, the subconscious wanders.