featured photo
The Kitchen
Brought to you by
Body Wrappers;
New York Flash Review Sponsor
the New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always
performance at its best.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home

Flash Review 2, 3-5: "Silence of the Soul"
Suspended Moments and Other Intensities from Walker Dance Park Music

By Josephine Leask
Copyright 2004 Josephine Leask

New! Sponsor a Flash!

LONDON -- Walker Dance Park Music's "Silence of the Soul," seen February 26 at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio Theatre, is a symbiotic marriage of contemporary music and dance fueled by the creative force of choreographer Fin Walker and composer Ben Park. The husband and wife team's musicians and dancers are visible on stage and everyone's presence is both significant and valued in the work.

Walker, a highly respected independent choreographer, performer and teacher from a mainly contact improvisation background has been making work for 13 years, although her company in its present existence is still relatively new. "Silence of the Soul" has a very fresh look, and an added quirkiness, as if Walker's choreography had taken on a new lease on life, maybe from the energy of collaboration with Park and his musicians. Dare I say the production values also look more glamorous than the last time I saw the company, a few years ago. The costumes for "Silence of the Soul" resemble chic variations on Calvin Klein's and Donna Karan's underwear collection, while an uplifting lighting design by Lucy Carter floods the stage during several sections of the piece and illuminates the dancers in their delicate white costumes.

Walker's work has always been concerned with purity and form; she is obsessed with sharp, tricky movement and challenging but highly connected partner work, uncluttered by theatrical frills. In "Silence of the Soul," her choreography is fast and surprisingly tense for a choreographer who has trained in release-based techniques (such as Alexander and contact improvisation), but this is what makes the work interesting.The dancers perform lifts and balances at great speed, fast shuffles along the floor or whipping turns, with an array of neurotic gestures thrown in between, which add an uncharacteristically personal touch. Park's vibrant soundscore, consisting of percussion, a throaty bassoon and trombones tumbles along to match the pace of the movement.

There is not much slack in this choreography, not much time for Zen moments or breath, so it is just as well that the dancers perform so tightly as a team. All of the seven dancers look impressively alert and aware of exactly where each other is spatially throughout the work. At times they perform like an assembly line, passing movement from one to another as fluidly as a Mexican wave, and while they dance individual solos and duets, their strength lies in their togetherness, like that of an orchestra.

There are, however, abrupt moments of complete stillness and silence, in which dancers and musicians freeze, as if they need time out to contemplate after such frenetic bouts of activity. What is wonderful about these theatrically suspended moments is that they seem to last forever (to the audience) and introduce a fascinating level of intensity. We can literally see the performers taking stock and sizing up, before the next attack.

Towards the end of the piece, there is a chaotic acceleration in the speed of the movement, just when we thought it couldn't get any faster, and with a triumphant flourish both sound and movement end.

Walker and Park are artists who have worked hard both together and as individuals without the recognition they deserved and now they have finally caught the dance public's attention with this potent cocktail of dance and music.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home