I think it would be fair to say that recent years have been some of the strangest years in a generation. Covid-19 put all our lives on hold, and kept friends and loved ones apart. Undeterred, Nova Grace Productions, with choreographer Karen Hill, met on Zoom and did what they knew best – danced. They created this performance piece, Unlocked, which feels almost like a documentary through dance and initially performed it in a giant Zoom call in December 2020.
The performance is set out with 4 in-person contemporary dancers and behind them, a projector showing snippets of that Zoom performance and other videos that capture what it was like living through a global pandemic. Everywhere you looked there was something else going on. The piece felt busy and interesting but there were also some beautifully poignant and still moments marking key points in the pandemic. This piece could have been really depressing but it felt hopeful and uplifting.
The dancers were working within some tight spaces in their homes as they were devising this piece and they used this to get even more creative and use every inch of the space they had. A highlight for me is the way they used duvets and their beds, and explored different ways of moving in, around, on top of and under them. One dancer used their slanted ceiling and basically climbed up it which was so cool to watch.
Also impressive was the music composed by Karen Hill. The way the music beautifully portrayed the emotions throughout the piece was divine. Each piece of the music was carefully chosen and flowed well.
After the show, the dancers returned to stage and hosted a mini Q&A about the piece. They spoke about how they came up with some of the movements, and their own experiences of the lockdowns. I know lots of people would rather forget about this traumatic period, but I think it’s important to remember the time the world was put on hold. A member of the audience spoke about their loss of a loved one and described this performance as phenomenal and therapeutic.
I loved this show. It had a beautiful balance and it felt healing to reflect on the past few years. The dancing itself was exquisite and there were so many creative ways they created movement, which made the piece feel fresh and exciting.
We are proud to announce that Nova Grace won our Voice Magazine Best Newcomer of Brighton Fringe Award 2023. Click here to read more details.