July 12, 2024

Review: Dublin Fringe Festival-DOGS

Emma Martin Dance-Dogs-Fringe Festival Dublin 2012-Project Arts Centre

As Dogs begins the lights come up very slowly, carefully revealing and not revealing what is to be seen. Two musicians take their places behind a large drum set and a harpsichord. A soprano opera singer begins an aria. Six dancers take their places while there is a fleeting glimpse of a girl twirling a baton before the lights go out.

The dancers begin; three men and three women. The women’s heels add a staccato beat, which adds to the frantic, sometimes violent, yet controlled movement. There is a hint at aggression as the dancers sometimes force one another to move a limb, push another or seemingly effortlessly pick each other up.

One of the dancers goes to a microphone on the floor and whispers into it her words are inaudible and not meant to be heard. The other dancers sit in old armchairs and take off their shoes. The dancing continues the movement becoming more primal and invoking canines as the dancers sashay across on all fours. Another dancer goes to a microphone and launches into telling a story about bees and their environmental importance. He stops and dances with the female dancer. The other dancers join in and as the lights illuminate more an area of the stage is covered in dirt and the dancers begin to dance in it, kicking up the dirt. The man returns to the microphone and begins telling a story about going to the grocery store and losing control after a woman bumps into him and does not apologize. The story abruptly ends as the dance takes over.

The movement becomes wild and intense. At the climax three girls twirling batons enter and do a routine across the stage before they quickly vanish. The opera singer quietly sings as the dancers slowly come to an end. Dogs is a beautiful, stark look at what it means to be human and what it means to lose control. It is a reminder that the separation between man and beast is not always easy to find. A raw piece, invoking dance as a means to communicate our primal tendencies, Dogs shows that dance is just as necessary and relevant in understanding our society.

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