Review Out Of The System:Mixed Bill, Dance Umbrella by Tanica Psalmist

Out Of The System : ‘MIXED BILL’ curated by Dance Umbrella, featured guest programme ‘Freddie Opoku; in partnership with Bernie Grant ArtCentre & Systems LAB. Out from this stemmed acts who brought more than just multi-disciplinary, deeply conscious and lucrative art.

All pieces structurally provided visual content that were richly infused with innovation & culture. This was exceptionally recognised during the first act of the evening, ‘Fragility in Man’ by dancer Theo Inart. His unique segment poured vulnerability on stage. A one man show featuring live looping, un-dressing, mental channelling & emotional battling through movement & sound-making. Each movement foretold his insanity as a man looking sane, meanwhile each sound enchanted torment from the infliction of oppression within society as a man.

Next on ‘Exhibit F’ by Becky Namgaud. Her piece was the most abstract out of the other pieces showcased, to the point where you would’ve needed to pick her brain to find meaning within the intensity of her choreography & low light to dark mood lighting choice. Becky’s performance grasped attention being the only act who was nude, top half of her body. She’d incorporated sounds of running water, stayed levelled on the ground the entire time with an ambience sound I struggled to find the correlation with to match her theme. However, in spite of this I’d describe this piece as deeply metaphorical, original, innovative with complex moves combined with contemporary & Capoeira style of dance. I perceived this piece may have been more personal, explaining why it wasn’t self-explanatory to members of the audience. This gave Becky’s presence power & bravery, as she interestingly also had a lot of repetition on stage. 

Followed on from Becky’s piece was a duet act, ‘Beyond Words’ performed by FFion Camberwell Davis & Tyrone Issac Stewart. Ffion first appeared on stage wearing lingerie, whilst Tyrone appeared in boxers, circulating a lot of their movement at the beginning on balance where they’d climb & step on to one another weary of their surroundings. As their piece built more momentum both acts started exploiting various episodes of their unique individuality through phases of facing judgment, living in a world where your made to feel uncomfortable when in reality feeling comfortable with yourself. To portray their multifaceted mindsets they’d transitioned to a volume of costume changes on set, emphasising through spoken-word that external factors don’t define them but helps in finding their purpose to re-connect deeply to their roots. The incorporation of spoken word for me was distinctive, as it helped exclaim the powerful discovery of two individuals dressing down to reflect the value found in being at one as a collective amongst people with different tribal history.

Lastly, Jonzi D presented his piece ‘Aeroplane Man’, which personally blew me away the most! His piece was a perfect way to end the showcase as he took the audience on a never-ending, mental plane journey bringing nothing but himself. Energetically jogging on one spot as he physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually ran his way to various regions expecting respect & acceptance only to land in his top chosen destinations to visit his ethnic heritage, origin of ancestors, heritage of his indigenous people… yet facing rejection, humiliation from every angle he turned, but not giving up, hopeful of finding unity, validation, identity & belonging who wouldn’t see him as a fabricated, disillusioned wannabe; unable to speak his mothers tongue, recognise his African tribe and fully fit due to be seen as a migrant. A story of a man telling his story through the lens of witnessing himself as a coloured man, born & raised in England, birthed from West Indian parents who came to England during the Windsrush & so fourth. Themes of propaganda, racism, community, adaptation in search of finding home, his catchy lyrics got you hooked on where his next flights were booked.

All artists decided to focus on an abstract way of grouping their political, emotional views on factors that surround the society in spite of issues that not every single person in the audience would have had reciprocated. All pieces were well rehearsed, embodying characterisation and well thought through in terms of mis-en-scene as the choice of lighting, dress outfits, music and other implications of sound- was what truly signified the importance elements & finding meaning in their content to take something away with you even if it wasn’t a chunk load.  As a collective artists FFion Camberwell Davis, Tyrone Issac Stewart, Becky – Namgauds, Miguel-Altunaga & Florian- Peus demonstrated effective, triumphed work they should each be proud of.  



Choreography Theo TJ Lowe
Art Direction Theo TJ Lowe
Sound Collaborators Louis Van Johnson, Sabio Janiak
Voice Work Theo TJ Lowe
Performer Theo TJ Lowe

Choreographed and performed by Becky Namguads
Additional Direction Marso Riviere
Music Yael Claire Shahmoon
Producer Amy Sheppard

Curated by DU Guest Programmer Freddie Opoku-Addaie
A Dance Umbrella production
Presented in partnership with Bernie Grants Arts Centre

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