An Evening with Giulia
Blue Elephant Theatre
Reviewed – 13th July 2017
“Incredibly beautiful to watch”
The seven dancers who comprise Giulia Iurza’s company J7S walk into the unadorned space in the dark to begin the first piece, Shikishin Funi (the title taken from Buddhist terminology, and referring to the oneness of mind and body). The Blue Elephant is an intimate venue, which means we can hear their feet on the floor. This, it turns out, is the perfect introduction to Giulia and the company’s work, which brings the spirituality of human connection into focus.
It is movement with intensity, and we can see and feel the physical and emotional transactions that are happening throughout, whether between groups of dancers, or in a lone performer’s sequence. The dancers have clearly evolved a shared movement language – it is at once sinuous and precise, and makes moments of touch, or lack of touch, resonate – but each performer’s individual character is also given room to breathe. This is incredibly beautiful to watch, and the minimalist score, developed in rehearsal by Mau Loseto, feels organically connected to the movement, rather than functioning as either a backdrop or a driver.
After an interval, and a short film about the process of developing the work, we were treated to the evening’s second piece, a work in progress called The Other Self . This was a duet, and the two dancers – Guilia Avino and Paola Drera – were mesmerising throughout. Their evident emotional connection created a powerful charge in this intimate portrayal of the dance of friendship; full of love and tenderness but not shying away from dissonance and pain. As a performance, it was immensely moving.
This reviewer only wished that we had been left with the resonance of the performance, rather than segueing into a Q&A. Part of the pleasure of attending a dance show is seeing the human body at its most eloquent; verbal exposition seemed particularly redundant after such physical skill and intensity.
A few things didn’t quite work for me – some of the travelling sequences in the first piece seemed a little too close to contact improvisation in the rehearsal room, and some of the detailed hand work lacked precision – but these tiny quibbles did not take away from an exciting evening with a passionate young company that has a bright future.
Tonight (14th July) is their final night at the Blue Elephant, but I have no doubt that this will not be the last opportunity to spend an evening with Giulia, as it was an evening most assuredly well spent.
Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw