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Troika Ranch: 16 [R]evolutions EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Laban, Deptford 25 April 2006

This dazzling multi-media creation, seen a day after the revival of Stockhausen's pioneering live-electronics Mixtur of 1967, is a work which is continually evolving during a performance and workshop educational tour England since its successful New York premiere (illustrated).

As explained by Troika Ranch's computer wizard Mark Coniglio with choreographer Dawn Stoppiello, in post-performance discussion at Laban, it is a concept driven work for which the technology is a metaphor to reinforce the ideas being explored, about 'how the animal drives of our pre-human ancestors have become sublimated to the point of abject confusion and disconnection'.

16 [R]evolutions 'traces a path that begins with the pure drives of the pre-human animal and ends with today’s post-intellectual man – who has subjugated these drives to the point of abject confusion'.

The effects of technology on humanity and the human brain have been a focus of recent attention and concern, notably in an article in The Guardian this week, reporting a far-reaching presentation by Baroness Greenfield about the impact of fast-moving advances in science and technology on how young people think and learn.

16 [R]evolutions asks the question: can we reconnect with our core needs to feed, fight and reproduce while continuing to evolve into beings of light and intellect?

The quite extraordinary, and extraordinarily beautiful, moving abstract three-dimensional visual images in colour, and in more austere black and white, interact with the live dancers, 'becoming more “animal” than the characters on stage'.

The thought provoking and expert dancing of Robert Clark, Johanna Levy, Daniel Suominen & Lucia Tong (all based in Britain, where the piece was created during a residency with essexdance) would be enough to fill the concentrated hour-long event rewardingly, even without the transformations superimposed on their bodies and movements.

All is explained fully on Troika Ranch's unsurprisingly superb website, which includes UK tour particulars including educational events, and enthusiastic reviews from New York.

A single picture may be worth more than a paragraph of words, so I limit myself now to simply advising those within range to try and connect somehow with Troika Ranch and their ever-evolving 16 [R]evolutions, which has as much interest from the aural as the visual point of view, and leave you to look above at the reduplication of the dancers in black and white, their 'painting' by movements in space, and an impression of how their bodies are transformed by the reactions of 'a single camera pointed at the stage, which creates a 12-point 'skeleton' that follows the shapes of the dancers' bodies. The position and trajectory of each point is passed to software designed by Coniglio which "generates visuals and manipulates aspects of the sonic score by interpreting the movements of the skeleton. . . . " '

For a fuller, descriptive review see Our Primal Future by Deborah Jowitt, quoted without permission above!

Photos: Jon Harris & A T Schaeffer

© Peter Grahame Woolf