Cinema Review: The Dance

Posted 12 months ago in Cinema Reviews

The Dance

Director: Pat Collins

Talent: Michael Keegan-Dolan and the cast of Mám

Released: February 11th

“I’m really drawn to the simplicity of things and the beauty and simplicity of people in space moving to beautiful music. I don’t have any urge to complicate or contextualise anymore,” says acclaimed choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan at the outset of rehearsals for Mám. He spent two years living in the Dingle Peninsula creating the follow-up to his masterpiece Swan Lake/Loch Na hEala. And while the stage version he realised found its feet, this well-intentioned observational piece flounders.

We bear witness to bodies heaving, writhing and twirling in motion. Michael and the cast seem delightful; Cormac Begley is playing jigs and reels on the concertina; everything is fluid, but opaque. There is no sense of what the production is actually about, no real insight into either the dancers (all 12 of them) or the dance. This may well hew to Keegan-Dolan’s stated purpose of ‘simplicity’ but as filmed, it ends up as an endless rehearsal, only towards the end does the expansiveness of the stage show reveal some scope.

Until then we end up snatching a glimpse of notes, ‘Disco tantrum’, ’Chicken rodeo’ on the rehearsal wall. I wanted to connect more movements and interpretations.

Unfortunately, The Dance ends up more like The Cult in which one is an interloper, witnessing the energy contained within an impervious community, yet feeling little of it translate.

Words: Michael McDermott


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