Review: Chalk at Dance Limerick & Upcoming events

dance_limk_theo_clinkard_picI haven’t been going to see too many theatrical or dance performances so far this year, which is unusual for me so I was delighted to be invited to go to Chalk at Dance Limerick last Tuesday.

A piece devised and performed by dancer/choreographer, Theo Clinkard, accompanied by a live score by James Keane, it was inspired by the iconic chalk cliffs of the south coast of England and in tune with the blurb, it was indeed an “inventive and intensely physical work”.

A quote in the description by Clinkard read: “I recently found out that the reason that chalk is white is because it is formed out of the minute skeletons of marine life, compressed over billions of years…You could essentially say it’s made of bone”.

This fascinating idea and its seaside, windswept setting was explored in various ways through dance, with atmospheric music (a lot of loop tracks) and sound effects recorded live with everything from trombones to stones. With every recording unique to the venue and performance, there is a certain unpredictability and that adds to the energy.

A particularly interesting sequence was when Keane recorded celery being broken up only for Clinkard to don a black Lycra suit with a skeleton on it and then move to the soundtrack of those sounds. It played on the idea of the microscopic skeletons being bashed around and also the tragic reality that death is ever present here. People regularly commit suicide by jumping off the cliffs and there are accounts dating back through the ages. He brought it right into the present by reading the most recent report by a local group, which patrols the cliffs aiming to help people in distress.

The ‘set’ was just a white diamond shaped area on the floor, which allowed for the space to be used to its full potential. The windows were not blacked out and the failing light of sunset added a nice ambiance to it. Any props were used creatively i.e. the tiny plasticine figure put onto an upright white trestle table to give an idea of scale. He also interacted with the audience by relaying information to people to relay along Chinese whisper-style. The show had a careful balance of seriousness and playfulness.

Everything flowed nicely and even the abstract elements weren’t indecipherable because there was a context and setting—evoked very well by the choreography and the production design. It was a thought provoking and enjoyable show.

For anyone interested you can watch a video promo of Chalk below…

CHALK from Roswitha Chesher on Vimeo.

The next show in Dance Limerick is Moving On by Spoken Dance, which is on this Thursday (23 April) at 8pm and on Friday (24 April) at 11am (tickets €12/10; group discounts available).

This is an evening of contemporary dance, film and performance, Moving On offers the audience an insight into the exciting, new and ambitious work of Limerick’s

integrated dance company.

“Following a period of examination and reflection into the medium of dance film, Spoken Dance will present live dance performance along with five short dance films which have been produced, directed and edited in collaboration with Limerick based disabled and non-disabled artists…Moving on uses film, movement and text to investigate choices around whether we allow our responses to define us or not.”

Two of the films represent the poetry of the Thursday Club of Enable Ireland, Mungret. One of the films was created by disabled dancer Danny Aherne as part of a research project where he was mentored by Mary Wycherley from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. The two other films feature very different duets between a disabled and non-disabled dancer.

The short film, A Sense of Pleasure, which features disabled dancers Mary Keogh and Deirdre Corry of Spoken Dance has been nominated for two awards at Limerick Film Festival. Another dancer, Antoin Cross, has been nominated for Best Factual Feature at Limerick Film Festival for This Integration– a documentary featuring Spoken Dance.

Spoken Dance recently launched integrated dance classes at Dance Limerick which are open to disabled and non-disabled participants. It is a professional company of disabled and non-disabled dancers led by Lisa Cahill and Mary Hartney. Spoken Dance has been creating and performing new, original contemporary dance works since 2011.

On the 30th April—the collaborative dance project, Sum of Parts, is on in the venue. This will see the culmination of a collaboration of Megan Kennedy, Limerick’s Dance Artist-in-Residence co-ordinating with 10 professional dance artists based in Limerick.

For more information on Dance Limerick and events there, see www.dancelimerick.ie.