THE DARKNESS comes – and abruptly goes. When the light gains purchase on the space, two figures become visible. They are not together, not yet. Their faces turn towards the sun – a suspended block of tightly-clustered lights – and arms stretch high, like plants drawn to heat and light. In time the couple – Breathe’s co-creators and performers, Errol White and Davina Givan – will connect, and their duet of counterbalances, divisions and limpet-like clingings will speak of an intimate relationship, made all the more intense because these are mature dancers (and married in real life).
However a fleeting voice-over, mid-way, tilts their interactions in another possible direction with its reference to stem cells and the “motion of the cell through its evolution.” If the support lifts, where White balances Givan across his shoulders, suggest a togetherness where two are as one, these lifts – like various other moments of close contact – echo the composite molecular forms that give rise to life in the first place. It results in a lovely play between humanity and abstraction, but while White and Givan are the core forces in this absorbing duet there is a third partner on-stage: the characterful lighting design by Fabiana Piccioli that sculpts the space with directional shafts of light from various clusters of hanging lamps, adding mystery and different moods to the choreography.
Different energies and atmospheres, too, in Tiago Cerqueria’s sound-score with its shifts from pulsating drones to crackling, splintering almost-industrial noise. There’s even a subtext to the costuming, adding to the sophistication that underpins some strong, uncluttered and impressive dancing. The final images, held in silence, breathe a wealth of meaning.