Between The Lines with Vicki Igbokwe

Alessandra Seutin in Ceci n'est pas Noire!, part of Vicki Igbokwe's Between The Lines at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, September. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

Alessandra Seutin in Ceci n’est pas Noire!, part of Vicki Igbokwe’s Between The Lines at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, September. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

Gobsmacked by the combination of aesthetic, intellectual and emotional energy of the pieces curated by Vicki Igbokwe in tonight’s Between The Lines, I spent a while thinking before writing this post and still don’t think I can do it justice. What I can do is share a little of how the evening worked for me, hoping this helps you start to read between the lines of a beautifully conceived curation.

The publicity blurb from Sadler’s Wells says that Alessandra Seutin’s Ceci n’est pas Noire is a ‘reflective journey of a mixed race woman’. So it is, one demonstrating a combination of artistry, mature humour and honesty that plucked the heart strings. Her movement respected the lines on the stage but not those in the mind, blurring perspectives, highlighting some of the horrible cultural assumptions that makes us cringe upon hearing in others, and acting as a stimulus for constructive reassessment of our own world view as well.

Ella Mesma in Ecdysis, part of Between The Lines at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells, London.  (c) Carole Edrich 2013

Ella Mesma in Ecdysis, part of Between The Lines at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, London. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

There were lines on the stage in part of Ella Mesma’s performance of Anthony Egea’s choreography of Ecdysis, but the very dark set, Ella’s fluid movements and silver-grey all-enclosing body suit emphasised a choreography exploring the deeper lines around of power, growth, strength and sexuality.  My strongest memory  (apart from the challenge of doing the work justice in my images – it really was very dark) is of the contrasting shows of strength and power in her athletic ever-moving contortions and freezes at front of stage and the near-static poses giving an impression of feminine vulnerability at the back.

Our Mighty Groove, Uchenna Dance at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells, London. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

Our Mighty Groove, Uchenna Dance at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, London. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

Our Mighty Groove is a high-energy immersive production combining infective rhythms, dance styles and attitude with a photographic challenge (not one of low light, but of knowing where to shoot). To say that Uchenna Dance transformed the Lilian Baylis Studio into an underground club would be do them a disservice through oversimplification, and while it’s true that the audience could experience the production sitting down, standing up or dancing, the only people I saw seated – even briefly – were performers. Lines between performers and audience were definitely blurred (providing more of photographic challenge and enormous fun) and the vibes were so strong I found myself moving when I should have been still taking photos. I enjoyed the stage-light promenade (more superficial lines, this curator’s consistent) the way the audience responded and the larger than life characters.

Is My Whining Winding You Up? Pre-show, September 2013, Khan theatre, Sadler's Wells, London. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

Is My Whining Winding You Up? Pre-show, September 2013, Khan theatre, Sadler’s Wells, London. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

In this slick, funny, energetic dancehall theatre production, the theme of gender inequalities and feminism is explored in a contemporary, engaging and effervescent manner. It’s Cindy ClaesIs My Whining Winding You Up?  Shorter than the version I saw at the last sharing, the bathos that comes from  contrasting humour and energy to the sad seriousness of the subject matter still makes me want to cry.