One of the meanings of Entity’ is ‘body‘and as Wayne McGregor, Artistic Director of Random Dance, is known for his physically testing choreography that stretches dancers into tortured poses, the title seems appropriate for his most recent work.
But the technique, whilst fascinating, is one of a number of factors in the show that runs the risk of alienating the audience. The ten dancers, equally divided between the sexes, are physically similar and, dressed in identical white tops and black briefs; form a homogeneous group rather than individuals. It is also likely that the entities featured in the dance are not human.
In the opening sequence the dancers strut across the stage preening themselves as if in a mating ritual. Their bobbing heads and lanky strides resemble the movements of birds and this is reinforced as the dancers peck and nibble at each other. If mating is the goal then it is the right of the victor - there is little romance or attraction involved. As one dancer strides aggressively towards his partner he/ she cowers away on hands and knees. At a later stage, Ravi Deepres' digital design brings binary codes cascading down behind the emotionless dancers so that one wonders if they are depicting a new digital life form.
The dancers have collaborated with McGregor on the choreography, which is highly styliaed. There is little fluidity, as their bodies contort and twist, and no cathartic release. Their tight control never relaxes so that they seem like permanently wound springs. It is an amazing physical display but exhausting to watch.
The music, by Joby Talbot and Jon Hopkins, drives the dance forward starting with rapidly plucked strings and droning bass and climaxing with pounding beats. But it feels like generic modern dance music – there is a lack of warmth and a sense of style winning out over humanity. The remote atmosphere of Entity evokes this feeling – one tends to appreciate its cool perfection rather than become emotionally involved.