Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Tom Dale's RISE

Tom Dale Company

- - Choreographer Tom Dale is joined by dancers Robert Bell, Grace Hann, Roberta Pitré and Joseph Walkling for his latest work, 'Rise'. Dale, who has been creating work for his own company since 2001, is interested in how advances in technology influence life and artistic expression. 'Rise' features original music by Jow FishY, who is a classically trained musician specialising in double bass and electronica. The set design comes from Susannah Henry, with lighting devised by Ben Pacey.- -

Tom Dale, Robert Bell, Grace Hann, Roberta Pitrè and Joseph Walkling (dancers)
Susannah Henry (sets) Ben Pacey (lighting) Jow_FishY (composer)

Laban, Deptford 6 November 2007

RISE gets to the heart of La Condition Humaine for the many who have to fight for an identity and connectedness against a bleak background.

It evokes empathy with our struggling young through the dance characters, whose contorted, confined and angular movements are almost painful to watch. Dale's five dancers bring "extreme movement aesthetics" into their dance vocabulary. The brief releases through social dance sessions seem unreal. The sound patterns projected from JowFishy's score underpin a sense of being relentlessly assailed with sensory stimulation. Mopre familiar 'tunes' irrupt but are interrupted and fail to create a lasting life.

There is very little apparent dialogue between the individuals, who sometimes hide their identity behind hoods. It seems to denote that a group identity and moving as a group is perhpas more important for survival .

The prevailing murky grey atmosphere of the set is brilliantly enhanced with judicious lighting.

It was heart rending to watch the characters slide, almost reluctantly, out of their empty steel girder 'homes'. The only warmth, like a faint glimmer of hope, spread from a red light high up.

RISE gives a frightengly real evocation of the underbelly of our hyped and relentlessly pressurised social order... It made for a totally gripping and unforgettable 40 minutes of intense theatre and a unique dance experience.

Alexa Woolf

To Die For (h2dance at Laban)

A chilling lesson in thuggery and worse
or How to slide from too trusting 'innocence' into menacing criminality and extremism.

Choreography and design: Hanna Gillgren and Heidi Rustgaard
Performers: Darren Anderson, Laura Doehler, Gareth Green, Nicholas Lawson, Hanna Gillgren
Music: MOTO
Dramaturgy: Mark Whitelaw

Laban, Deptford 21 November 2007

This premiere was seductively attractive, drawing you into collusion with subtle brainwashing of a participating audience in a well remembered early childhood game. A disturbing evening, slickly put over and fooling some of the audience along the way as to what was happening to them - - [Editor]

Alexa Woolf writes:

Hanna Gillgren and Heidi Rustgaard have created a brave, imaginative and thought provoking work, which ought to be seen and discussed in all the schools of the land...

To Die For holds up a mirror for all of us to see the horrors which ensue if we abdicate moral responsbility and blindly follow my leader because Simon says...

The familiar childhood game "Simon says" is the starting point of this dance demonstration of how a necessary early childhood socialisation process can be used and abused towards a perversion of ethics. We watch a gradual introduction of innocent little "punishments", escalating very gradually to socially approved lethal violence; a metaphor for some of the persuasion techniques used for extremist political ends

It shows how gullible individuals are moulded into group behaviour where a gradual acceptance and perpetration of increasing violence becomes the norm, and where any semblance of resistance within the group is punished.

This system of carrots and sticks rewards 'evil' and punishes 'good'. Simple Simon has something to answer for...

We are surrounded by mountains of evidence past and present of humans tripping over the border of a necessary social boundary of cooperation and conformity into the no-man's land of inter-personal, inter-racial and inter-national violence.

To successfully tackle this subject through dance was no mean achievement.


To Die For will be at Alsager Arts Centre, Cheshire 29th January 2008, after which it is taken on tour internationally February/April 2008.