Rambling in an Empty Room
(Originally published here)
This dance project from Taiwan is entirely improvised by its two performers in a style similar to Western contemporary dance. What results depends on their interpretation of the music, lights, interaction with each other and blind sense. This is a great idea in theory, but the extent to which it works for an entire show is limited: there are moments when the dancing stops completely, or one of the dancers’ otherwise faultless attention drops off and something doesn’t work as well in execution as in theory. The constant switches in lighting also do not help; you feel occasionally as though the dancers are trying to keep up with a slightly over-excited technician wreaking havoc with the footlights.
The dancers, however, are masters at what they do. There are endless contact improvisations that almost appear rehearsed in their synchronisation; duet-like sequences with the two performers effortlessly coordinating their movement; and stunning solo amalgamations that demonstrate high levels of creativity and fitness.
The show is worth a watch for the grace of the performers, but you can’t help but think that it has been staged in the wrong place. A stint of dance improvisation would perhaps work better where observers were less pressured into accepting the movement provided: “rambling” elsewhere, outdoors perhaps, or in a live gallery. This said, the dancers are skilled enough to just about get away with it in its current format, and what they produce makes for forty minutes of high-octane, cheerful and skilled performance.