“TEN” explores global criss-crossings through rhythmical storytelling
by Boitumelo Makousu
TEN performed by ACE Dance and Music from Birmingham, UK and choreographed by José Agudo with assistance from Gail and Ian Parmel, is inspired by global migration and the movement of people. The migration has been part of human history, movement, cultural exchange and seeking safety.
The introduction to the rhythmic music set a tone for how the production unravels. Not only does it build curiosity but intensifies hearing and surveying the dancers, the choreography, and the stage. The scrambled, stark violet backdrop invites us to fill the stage, with history awaiting to set off and fulminate the untold and told stories through movement of the human figure. There is a strong sense of devotion erupting through the dancers, moving towards something, somewhere, encompassing strength yet seeking something.
The dancers positioned in the shape of a “U”, reflect unity. The sound of stamping feet creates powerful musical beats, which makes me question if it is out of frustration or faithfulness — what are they seeking refuge in? What are they hoping for? There are moments in their movements that express determination, by the stamping of feet, facial expressions, hands positioned as though they are calling for more. The choreography is quite provocative, in an abstract and unusual way fused with different techniques drawn from African dance and contemporary, provoking different emotions, feelings and stories all at once, pushing boundaries.
A transitioning that occurs throughout the work creates an impact of tension and stillness at the same time, creating an illusion of disturbance and dark thoughts, of wanting to belong, searching for belonging and wanting to be understood and heard. Fighting and wanting survival in different crossings, foreign lands and carrying the scars of looking for home. The political impacts the social, forcing a movement within people.
The work’s provocative rhythmic sounds and definitive exploration of human body movement shares stories through the versatile incorporation of flamenco, martial arts, afro-fusion and kathak styles. TEN explores human vulnerability which depicts how delicate we can be and the provocative power that lies within our physicality and intensity.
TEN is the crossing of bodies, the crossing of human fragility combined with physical power and emotive storytelling.