Are we doomed? That is the question which choreographer Alexandra Waierstall asks us to consider in her exquisitely beautiful, profoundly moving and deeply disturbing work And here we meet at the Lilian Bayliss studio. In a tour de force she creates a work of astonishing power and beauty in 40 minutes of dance/movement that takes the breath away.
In a bare space (suggesting the end of the world?) lit by single light bulbs hanging like branches from a tree Dani Brown walks on stage left and takes her clothes off. She stands before us naked, except for a microphone attached to her face from her left upper arm. For the next 30 minutes, she holds our attention effortlessly as she tells us a story in words and movement. It is the most important story of all. Are we doomed? Have we destroyed ourselves and our planet? The nudity, in my opinion, is crucial to And here We meet because it forces us to recognise our vulnerability, our fragility, both how precious and precarious we are. Seeing ourselves naked is as momentous as the blue planet photograph of the Earth. Just as that photograph gave us the perspective to see ourselves as alone in the universe so nudity allows us to see ourselves as we really are.
Dani Brown combines a no-nonsense unflinching in your face hard-hitting message with the most extraordinary moves, stretches, twists, turns and postures that together create a form of art that only dance/movement can achieve. In one incredible phase she starts moving on the spot and turning 360 degrees – then she jogs, then jogs faster and finally sprints flat out and stops abruptly. We follow her with bated breath as her breathing is relayed to us by her microphone. It’s a metaphor for humanity running out of control and hitting a brick wall. In another profoundly moving phase of movement, she contorts her body into an impossible yoga posture and reminds us that “… dinosaurs were here for 135 million years. Homo sapiens only 200,000 years.”
For the final ten minutes, Dani is joined by Evangelina Randou who is also naked. Without touching they create a sequence of achingly beautiful movements and gestures which might be the last dance of humanity? A dance to the music of time running out? The total silence and near darkness suggested as much to this reviewer. It was profoundly moving and utterly mesmerising. And here we meet pleads with us to wake up before it’s too late.
Every person who buys a ticket and sees this show makes it just that tiny bit more likely that we will wake up and survive.
Review by John O’Brien
Together with dancers Dani Brown, Evangelia Randou and composer HAUSCHKA, Alexandra Waierstall delves into hidden geographies, abandoned cities and no man’s lands, and investigates the relationship between man and woman, the environment and choreography.
With an acute sense of musicality and the body’s materiality, Waierstall, a distinctive new voice from Germany, creates a convincing world where new relationships arise between language, movement and space.
And here we meet
Thursday 14 & Friday 15 June at 8pm
Lilian Baylis Studio
Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R