Julia Blokhina, Ksenia Burmistrova & Liubov Perova
Three identical female figures inhabit a white, wrinkled paper surface. They slowly start to transform its shape, forming new unknown landscapes, and then they abruptly destroy them. They crumple and tear apart their world, messing around with the remnants, until they are left with a new blank canvas. Three times they wreck their world – three times they create it anew. With every new start they also reinvent themselves and the way their bodies move: sometimes fighting each other with pecking birdlike movement, sometimes seeking unison and contact in fluid trios. At the end, they exit the stage packing up what is left and carry their world on their shoulders, like mythical Atlases.
AllThatICanBe invokes vivid images of geological forces and ice ages in telling a slender story of seeking one’s position in an ever-changing world.
There is a huge blank sheet of paper on stage, rumpled and white, which crackles as three women crawl underneath it. Their movements turn that canvas into a 3D model of their emotional peaks and troughs; they rip it apart in savage rejection of their own exploratory measurements. This bold and conceptually confident opening is followed by mathematically precise choreography that rather abruptly abandons its original direction. One woman cages herself repeatedly in her arms, burdened by her own weight. A trio section of wide spins and rolls sees the women furiously pulling at one another and the space around them.
There is something to admire in the tight, sharply delineated dancing, but AllThatICanBe falls short of the scope of its own concept: too cold an exploration of the self, it’s more a scientific enquiry into synapse response than a search for a soul.
Three women disappear into a paper landscape with mountains shifting and crumpled sounds. The dreamy sculptural atmosphere is ripped by obvious musical cues and a sudden introduction of overly choreographed movement that suggests three versions of a single self. Identity is at times eaten by paper towers or shredded into pieces by the dance.
The ambitious visual statement of the start sets up high expectations, but the frontal composition of the steps, however skilled, is disconnected from the scenic and communicative beginning. The mechanical movements shift from doll-like shapes to a more aerial physicality, yet lack to develop a personal movement language. The young trio fails to coherently address the existential questions of identity and wastes its scenographic potential. Architectural exploration, human questioning and virtuosic demonstration need to find a more cohesive thread.
There’s a terrific seam of imagery running through Vozdukh Dance Company’s AllThatICanBe. A carpet of creased white paper covers the stage. Beneath its surface three women move so that the floor itself seems to flow like glaciers, rise up into Himalayan peaks, or bulge like sheets swollen with dreams. Through the course of the piece, the paper is scrunched and shredded to reveal a new layer underneath; it too will be crumpled, torn, discarded, until no layers are left, and finally the women wrap up the material that had once wrapped them.
A series of carefully constructed, thematically distinct episodes – puppet twitchings, spiralling helixes, a tripartite body that fuses and unfurls – seem more to intrude upon than enliven that trajectory. Choreography and scenography at odds with each other.