Motionhouse 'Charge'

On Friday the 23rd of March I was able to go see Motionhouse perform ‘Charge’ at the Peacock theatre in London. Kevin Finnan MBE, aimed to create a show collaboratively with scientists are artists to make audience members “think about the role energy plays in our lives.” Charge is the third element of Kevin Finnan’s ‘Earth Trilogy’, developing on themes explored in Scattered, and Broken, about our relationship with water and the Earth.

Motionhouse 'Charge'

On Friday the 23rd of March I was able to go see Motionhouse perform ‘Charge’ at the Peacock theatre in London. Kevin Finnan MBE, aimed to create a show collaboratively with scientists are artists to make audience members “think about the role energy plays in our lives.” Charge is the third element of Kevin Finnan’s ‘Earth Trilogy’, developing on themes explored in Scattered, and Broken, about our relationship with water and the Earth. The “Electrifying Dance Circus” was brought together by a large team of both dancers, directors and even some scientists were involved to enable the lighting directors and dancers to gain a deeper understanding of the stimulus and themes that are addressed throughout. A key theme being the spark of life meant that the knowledge was needed which is where Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft and the other scientific researchers were able to help as she explained the way in which ion channels work via the heart cells. This meant that the dancers, lighting directors and set designers were able to convey the themes accurately and effectively.
As the show starts of with two of the six dancers of stage using silks, the audience is encapsulated by the dynamic and unique movements. Then as the music began to change, the other dancers began to enter the stage in lab coats which helps the audience relate the them to the dancing. During this section the movements are highly energetic, and the choreography was developed in a way to create the illusion of there being an intensely busy situation on stage which mimics the way in which electrical impulses travel through the body. I felt the intensity from every dancer as their unison looked as though they were dancing as one and when there were differences between what each dancer did, the was made clear.
As the themes and music moves on throughout the performance, the audience remain gripped as the dancers continue to surprise the audience with dangerous jumps and lifts. The performance frequently changes pace to reflect the cycle of life and energy. The set behind the dancers creates a screen where projections can be used to help convey a story or theme. However, another clever use of the set is that it was not made into a flat wall, which meant the dancers could interact with it and use it to create new movement which relates to the stimulus. A key section which stands out to me is where all the dancers are swimming around as sperm and one dancers dives into the back drop where a projection of the ovum is. The dancers is almost engulfed by the set as she begins to slowly move in and out of it which cleverly portrays the process of fertilisation.
The music also contributes well to the themes of the performance through sounds of a pulsating beat of a heart and realistic sounds from everyday life which further enhances he audiences understanding of the themes. Along with the music the lighting was used incredibly effectively. Towards the start of the performance there was a section with a strobe effect in the middle of intense, fast action involving very short bursts of capturing the dancers in mid-air to create the illusion of time freezing at these moments.
This piece was a high energy, entertaining and memorable dance piece which incorporated elements of science and creativity in a cleaver and interesting way. This would be highly recommended and I and looking forward to seeing another piece from Motionhouse in the future.

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Phoebe Goff

Phoebe Goff Centre

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