A Silver Knife
Four dancers ricochet wildly onto the stage. They form an uncanny choir, squawking and trembling, long hair draped over their faces merging them into one bizarre organism. They’re schoolgirls playing at pop stars and warriors, but a streak of darkness to their games hints at the looming shadow of adulthood; two boxes, at first playthings, turn into a sinister cage which with to imprison one of their number. Unambiguous moments of tragedy and tenderness are fleeting, gleefully sacrificed on an altar of surrealism.
The performers charm us with their relentless energy, led by the impossibly charismatic Kyung gu Lee; she raps languidly into a microphone, before snapping out of her nonchalance to hammer movement home with formidable precision.
Silver Knife goes by in a blur, leaving traces of sadness in its wake, but there’s enormous pleasure to be taken from this captivatingly offbeat world.
There is an air of quiet defiance in A Silver Knife, that reaches out from the edge of the stage and grabs you. The work was inspired by the Korean Eunjangdo knife – a traditional tool worn by women as a sign of fidelity – but the four women performing it are most definitely living in the now.
Carved from an hour-long piece, this 20-minute extract has energy leaking from every pore. Soundtracking their own movement with live song, the dancers jump from raucous to polite before burying their heads inside a large box and emerging somehow changed.
After delivering a rap, one dancer casts her microphone aside and flies into an urgent, spellbinding solo. Then a sea of intriguing images – a waterfall of hair created by three performers stacked on top of each other; a ‘dead’ woman propelled around the stage by her companions – leaves our interest for the full work fully piqued.