With a dance festival it can often be an unexpected gem that shines out and delights.
So it was with Not About Everything, Daniel Linehan’s solo that has been doing the rounds for a decade (more than 75 international venues we are told) yet still has great appeal and charm.
In its most simple form it is a 30 minutes or so of spinning in the middle of a circle of audience member and within that a much smaller circle of magazines, novels, newspapers and other visual and reading matter.
Once the motion begins so too does his recorded voice to which he speaks live and, as you may expect, he starts to tell us (or himself) what the dance is not about. The subject matter that it is not about is vast, therapy, the human content pile (whatever that is),
The pace varies, sometimes extremely fast, at times gentle and slow, sometimes with an arm leading the spin, at others fists in the air, and then arms out wide until a self-caressing/ massaging section where he also pulls a large grimace, tongue out. He has along the way drunk from a plastic water bottle, discarded first his black zipper fleece and then his black trousers to dance in his red boxers. Why red? No idea and probably irrelevant. He is from the start barefoot. Do I mention a bunion? Probably best not to as it is not about that.
Of course Daniel never loses control although in the questions and answer session afterwards he does say that there is a visual blurring where the reading items become indistinct.
A focus of the movement is when he reads the text of a letter he wrote back in 2007 when the much younger man from Seattle, now resident in Brussels. It is a petition to the Australian government about refugees kept on offshore islands. Now spinning very slowly he asks an audience member to take it and post it. Like the London Rye, that has to be done without the spin ever actually stopping.
At the conclusion he breaks out of the spin and settles on the ground outside that circle but still within our outer circle of voyeurs. The soundscape of voice, traffic, sirens also comes to a halt and with a sweep of his hands he lets us know that it is it.
What was the dance about? It is the words, as he later explains when it is presented to non-English speaking audiences he gives a translation, so in that sense it is about everything he mentions. Yet it is also about dance itself, the rebellion away from steps to pure motion, although again in the post-show discussion a dance expert, who has been name-checked the spin, as he always does to someone in the audience wherever he performs it, points out what was experimental, out of the box, 10 years ago, has become the norm. However, the dance is still very much in demand with no sign of the whirl of performances coming to an end.
Presented in partnership with Migrations
Daniel Linehan’s Hiatus
Image © Caroline Thirion
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