Reck plunges me into absolute darkness before the adrenaline begins pumping. At first choreographer Botis Seva spotlights five muscular sweaty, undulating backs. Although Antony Hateley’s seductive lighting and Torben Lars Sylvest’s intensely loud, rebellious beats also grab attention, I wasn’t yet entirely ready to follow. The dancers vibrate savagely in broken hip-hop moves, as if fighting an invisible external force. They 'speak' an aggressive language at an accelerated pulse. The stage itself becomes a deep tropical rainforest in which this leonine group hunt, hit their chests and mime shooting us. My initial resistance was futile. The ensemble’s gang-like bond and herculean attitude transformed me into a fully energetic being, now ready to join this raw, brawny tribe --- if they’d let me.
performed by Botis Seva
The cast of Far from the Norm’s Reck conjure and inhabit a tightly stylised (and potentially controversial) neo-atavistic stage society. They’re a five-strong tribe – three black men, one black female and a white woman. After an initial emphasis on the back, this impressively musical quintet unleashes jittery, gesturally detailed kinetic patterns at an urgent pace. Their skulking, ape-like postures are balanced by a visceral behavioural precision; I saw krumping and body popping adapted to hunting, huddling and scrabbling. The defensive human animals in this stark, shadowy zoo – the lighting is fabulous – could be dangerous. When upright they protect their turf by holding up anachronistic imaginary rifles pointed out at us. It’s all set to a big soundtrack that shifts from squelch, tingle and boom to insistently pulsating, primal vocal rhythms. Exciting? Yes. Is choreographer Botis Seva aware of the images he’s conveying of the dark-skinned ‘other’ and similar racial stereotypes? I’d wager he is. Anything else could be deemed irresponsible.