Double Beat

Form Dance Projects. Director: Sara Black. Riverside Theatres.    May 5-7, 2022

Reviewed : 5 May, 2022*

Photo : Heidrun Löhr

Hearing the heartbeat of her son for the first time led choreographer Sara Black to what became Double Beat, a movement piece based around the different rhythms of beating hearts as they react to the pressures affecting the people whose bodies they charge.

Composer Alyx Dennison recorded the varying heart beats from nine people, combined them with the sounds of birds and wild life, and compiled them into a sound track that reflects the multitude of emotions and reactions that affect the human psyche and are mirrored physically in the changing rhythms of the heart.

To this incredible composition, Black worked with performers Isabel Estrella, Samantha Hines and Sophia Ndaba to create a performance that explores the “the aural and physical responses … to the tempo of our changing natural world”. Working together through the  Covid-19 lockdowns, they created a descriptive physical narration of the different ways the body reacts to both external and internal stimuli.

Photo : Heidrun Löhr

Using a multitude of movements, from erratic convulsive paroxysms to almost deathly stillness, they explore the range of human emotions and reactions. The calm of contentment, the fitfulness of fear, the immobility of acceptance – all are reflected in a complexity of choreography that excites and confuses, stimulates and, sometimes, perplexes.

Together the performers tell this physical story on a space side-lit by Veronica Bennet to create merging shadows that bring the dancers together, then set them apart as they react to sound – and to each other. At times they are alone, writhing in fear, at others they are together, wrapping around each other, then, suddenly, pushing away, retreating to a safer space, yet looking back … and reaching out – to each other, and their audience.

Also published in Stage Whispers magazine

*Opening Night