When two members of Vincent Dance Theatre walk onto the stage at the beginning of their performance and say slowly No more dancing, you think they are joking. They are not. What proceeds is at best an insight into the motivations people need to keep on going, and at worst an assault on the audiences belief that any dancing will be involved at all.
But the first sketch is laugh-out-loud funny with Patrycja Kujawska and Aurora Lubosreciting a manifesto of things their dance shall not be – no more knee-jerks, no more classical music, no more clichsafter this one, no more sexual politics, no more internal rhythms
The list is an outright attack on what have become abstract conventions of contemporary dance the norm for dance companies, and expectations from the audience. Accompanied by the rock-pumping track Hate to say I told you so, by The Hives, the opening is full of brilliance and promise.
But the skit consciously oversteps the mark the list is too long, the dancers shouts become irritating and the loud music becomes unbearable. This sets the tone for what is a totally unconventional dance piece.
Vincent Dance Theatre have taken a step beyond their once quirky, deliciously physical displays of raw-talent and given us an indefinable piece of theatrical confusion called If We Go On, performed last night at DanceXchange. Its not dance, its not even really a show. Six people stumble around the stage sometimes they move, sometimes they just stand there staring sometimes someone is talking, and sometimes there is silence. The only piece of continuity comes form a beautifully played cello, and the nine overhanging light bulbs which dancers intermittently turn on and off with their feet.
The disjointed monologues describe dancers feeling like they can no longer go on the glare of the audience becoming too much. Each story is another tale of trying at something and failing, never quite hitting the mark, and the prospect of reality on stage.
The montage is difficult to sit through with elongated pauses which at first gave room for contemplation, and then feel stifling and arbitrary. But Vincent Dance Theatre know what theyre doing their finale is a harmonised song including the words What on earth are we doing here. Who let us loose on the stage, and Kujawskaconfesses the company is past it and they know the show is no good. So we cant argue with them we both know its not what we want.
Vincent Dance Theatre perform If We Go On tonight at The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome. See DannceXchanges website for more details.