There is an atmosphere of intensity and contemplation throughout this double bill of dance from Africa. Raiz Di Polon, a female duo outfit from Cape Verde open with a resonant piece entitled Duas Sem Tres about the relationship between voice and movement.
Already in performance as the audience files in, the two women stand whistling and rocking at opposite corners of the stage their breath forming a cord between the voice and the body. Movement builds in several directions, towards the playful and sensual, the nonchalant, and the frenetic, giving the work a tonal variety that is both convincing and provocative.
Elisabethe Fernandes and Rosy Tavares work well as a pair and they have a quirky magnetism about them that allows them to pull off humour well. The sudden appearance of two bananas dangling from the ceiling, and their cryptic mutterings in Portuguese add an extra, intriguing dimension to the performance.
Ijodee Dance Company from Nigeria offer an ambitious piece called Ori, also seeing its UK premiere. In contrast to Raiz Di Polon’s use of props and setting here is a bare and rustic sight of the dancers dressed in simple brown costume with only a candle used for enhancement.
The piece remains taut and highly spirited throughout, at times bursting with a ferocious energy in synchronised choreography, arms charging towards the ceiling and backs thumping with movement, these moments are dazzling. At other times the dancers break off into their own meditative worlds. This is earnest and imaginative dance theatre.