Rita Góbi rises gradually from inside a dark futuristic environment, speechlessly battling for freedom. Situated at the centre of a bare stage, her narrow space is defined by arrow-shaped white tape on the floor. She is like Pygmalion’s sculpture come to life and trying to adjust to the world after her transformation. Góbi’s insect-like body stems from her toes to her fingertips, composed of diagonal lines, twirling spirals and sharp angularities. In constant motion throughout the performance, her disciplined precision is exceptional. She is at her strongest when she seems to metamorphose into a butterfly, stretching towards the light and learning how to use its wings. Electronic sounds of repetitive Morse code and intense white light cage her in an atmosphere of extreme isolation. Completing the particular and peculiar circle of life she is doomed to inhabit, Góbi dances a final lament, in harmony with some ambiguous melancholy, before dying in the music. Haunting, sublime and very much highly recommended.

It starts with a quivering hand, then an electric current fills the limbs, piercing muscles and bones and eventually reaching the tip of the tongue and eyelids. Rita Góbi’s unabated dance vocabulary seems infinite: odd body twists, elbow kicks, hasty jumps and splits. Her shadow fills the stage then disappears, hands reveal intricate finger ballets before collapsing. In more fluid sequences she mutates from a headless black spade silhouette into a hauntingly robotic dying swan. Cleverly lit, and set against Morse code-inspired electronic compositions by Dávid Szegö, Volitant is an uncanny game of the mechanical and the natural. Góbi is at once human and machine, animal or alien. Her raw energy never loses its tight grip as she slowly turns this scathingly beautiful solo into a true cyborg manifesto.

A pale, frizzy bunhead in a sleeveless black unitard, Rita Góbi is decidedly odd but incredibly articulate. Operating inside a wedge defined by double white lines, she is by turns angular or undulant, ornithological and aquatic but rarely if ever fully human. Instead think avatar or machine, a contorting and shape-shifting creature using every part of its nominal flesh-and-blood form – from tongue to toes – to emit kinetic signals aligned with Dávid Szegö’s Morse code-derived soundtrack. Playing out like a precision mix of post-Merce Cunningham mimetics and butoh, the performance is packed with memorable body imagery: sweeping limbs, fluttering eyelids, fibrillating fingers. At one point I convinced myself Góbi was the incarnation of pulsating internal organs exposed via surgery. Pavla Beranova’s artful lighting is mainly cold, hard; when not reduced to silhouette, Góbi’s slippery exactitude is occasionally warmed by a hint of amber. Although it could perhaps be pruned, by the close she achieves a clinical, compellingly calculated divinity.

On an otherwise bare stage Rita Góbi stands at the crest of a white ‘V’ taped to the floor. With precise, taut flicks of the wrist she begins to map out her space, shifting in narrow channels, crouching and mutating laterally as though through invisible laser beams. Her lithe muscular body is always held in immaculate tension, each angular movement precise and sharp. 

She is a conductor for Dávid Szegö’s accompanying electronic beats - Morse code meets Pac-Man by way of a heart-rate monitor.

Eventually Góbi doesn’t even seem human any more; her pulsing arms are insect-like, her twitching shoulder blades alien and unsettling. At times she seems to hang like a puppet on a string, having lost the agency of her own rigid limbs. A few missed beats don’t detract from an intense, meticulous experience.

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Spring Forward
23 – 25 March 2018
Sofia, Bulgaria

Watch on demand: aerowaves.org/springforward

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