Bock & Vincenzi, Invisible Dances... in front of people watching

Review in Issue 11-4 | Winter 1999

This conceptual work-in-progress performance, a collaboration between choreographer and dancer Frank Bock and director and designer Simon Vincenzi, is an intriguing and sometimes frustrating experiment in how far a single idea can be pushed before an audience becomes alienated. The concept is simple: seven performers dance to seven different soundscapes, each only audible to the individual performer respectively. All the audience hear is a continuous sonic chime and the interference from a radio mic, which sporadically receives instructions from a voice offstage. Each performer listens to his or her own soundscape (composed by Luke Stoneham) on a walkman and the resulting choreography runs as a loop of seemingly random movement sequences – each person ‘locked-in’ and isolated by their own individual soundscape.

The resulting show is a dance choreographed to music that the audience can’t hear and that the performers can’t share. What’s most intriguing is the movement that Stoneham’s different soundscapes provoke – physical jerks, twitches, muscular spasms. The performers writhe about, with their eyes closed, as if suffering from involuntary convulsions. It’s a painful spectacle – not least because it continues unabated (with the same sonic chime ringing in tandem like tinnitus) for the duration of an hour. It was too much for, perhaps, ten percent of the audience, who had left before the end. But boy was it worth staying. The joy of the piece was in its repetition; sure there were moments when it seemed too much to bear – but the opportunity to observe so closely the minutiae of each movement sequence induced a wonderful hypnotic quality

Observing each of the performers apparently imprisoned in their own internal world, was a moving experience. The moments of communion between the dancers – an accidental mirroring of movements or the slight touch of a guiding hand on the back – were profoundly touching. This is an experiment truly worth watching, and one that deserves an audience, even though they might not all be convinced to stay the course.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-4
p. 22