Marco da Silva Ferreira
The most impressive element in Marco da Silva Ferreira’s Hu(r)mano is how the music acts almost like a curveball against the piece’s urban dance routine. The score doesn’t gain its street cred from a sunny dance battle but instead from an underground sewer rave. The four dancers are onstage in fast-fashion garments; the industrial soundscape forces the viewer’s focus back to the conditions where this trendy wardrobe is usually produced. A desolate, brutal tone is thus set for the whole piece. In many ways the choreography parallels the musical rhythms; as the music builds different elements pile up, the cast exiting and reappearing again. Hu(r)mano uses effectively the absence of bodies as a dramaturgical tool. The four dancing bodies comprise a sort of stasis that cleverly empties out once in a while when one of them goes out of sight. When the music slowly fades out, in a deconstructed manner, we’re left with a handclap that works as a cold bitch slap.
Lifted up by her two legs and arms, a dancer crawls in the air waving like a flying fish. Small groups of individuals, whether moving synchronously or not, stare at each other. The space around them is wide but not infinite, and tense.
Those who live in a city have surely experienced the bizarre “aquarium feeling” of contemporary urban spaces. Observing and being observed by the others, forming relationships with all sorts of people, both intimate and anonymous – this is how we live. But here, in the theatre, there’s more. From the stage the audience is reached by tons of fluid movements and quite loud electronic music, and yet there’s no real sound, as if those bodies were set on mute or soaked in water. The storytelling is there, inside the neat, waving and readable lines of Marco da Silva Ferreira’s four dancers (Anaisa Lopes, Gonçalo Cabral, Vitor Fontes and the choreographer himself). In its 40 minutes, Hu(r)mano tries to explore the urban environment with its controversies and joys. Attending the show we’re confronted with the awkward beauty of the urban space, and, even if the music is too loud, at the end the dance silence echoes with liquidity. Urban, aquatic: it’s the same the world over.
Anaisa Lopes, Goncalo Cabral, Portuguese choreographer Marco da Silva Ferreira and Vitor Fontes are a tight unit of squeakily-shod urban foot-shifters. Suddenly these hip hop sidlers spread out to the sound of a knocking wind, eventually ditching oblique strides to form bird-necked, nose-to-nose totems (an interesting but overextended section). Chest-throbbingly big, buzzy, bouncy beats take over, leading to jerky bandy legs and kick-steps cued to a nerve-shredding clack. As they continue to strut, jump and eat naked space is it exhaust fumes I think I smell, or burning rubber? Is Hu(r)mano actually triggering my imagination more than I am consciously aware? A collective energy is passed between full-bodied characters who could, perhaps, be even more individualised, culminating in the playing of happy grinning games. How genuine can a group’s forced smiles be? The audience’s cheers tell me that others connect more immediately with this quartet than I think I did.