Green tea and wireless headphones, two things that I’ve never been given at a dance performance. It’s dark and I’m sitting in the Queen’s Theatre. Without the headphones on, I can’t hear anything. The entire audience sits in silence, waiting. Drinking green tea. The use of the headphones initially makes me feel totally disconnected from the performer, but in a few short minutes, I’m drawn in. There are no other distractions and it seems as if he is performing directly to me and only me. It’s as if there’s no one else in the entire theatre.
The dancer performs inside a box, to the beautiful sounds of traditional Japanese music. He looks a little like a bird trapped in a cage. But then it changes…
He’s no longer a bird. The audio changes. It’s mechanical, robotic, slightly industrial. The dancers movements hypnotic, rhythmic, repetitive. Is he a robot? The performance seems as if it could be a commentary on the automated soulless mass production factories where most of the things that we consume come from. Does the box represent work? There’s a pause, and the robotic dancer steps out of the box. In the dark, there are words. Words of beauty, the robot has a soul. Creativity and beauty exist in the midst of mechanical automation.
I’m a little confused. Am I reading something into this performance that isn’t there? There’s no wrong opinion or interpretation of art is there?
Gareth Hart performs Ellipsis, a solo 30 minute interpretative improvised dance performance at the Queen’s Theatre until Sunday 11 March. Follow Gareth on twitter @art_gareth and let him know what you thought of his show.