BEAT is at the forefront of contemporary dance, choreographed by Igor and Moreno, performed by Margarita Elliot. This production has taken four years to reach fruition and is the second piece from this duo. The choreography encourages introspection and plunges into the millennial psyche. It will enthrall and captivate mature audiences.
Upon entering, the stage is level with the first row of seats. Layered squares of light form a backdrop, mimicking a discotheque. As opposed to other contemporary pieces that at times seem quite formal and detached from the audience, BEAT provides a breath of fresh air. From angled lights that allow the dancer to see the eyes of the spectators to the minimal staging where the DJ is nowhere in sight, everything is set to maximise engagement.
For contemporary dance first-timers, the opening section may be slightly confusing (we certainly did not know what we were getting into) but it remains gripping nonetheless. Soon though, it becomes clear that the thought-provoking routine tries to explore many different facets of our generation. One of our personal highlights was the expression through movement of selfie culture, a part where the dancer stands in the middle of the stage and the lights change rapidly, creating the illusion of scrolling through a social media app.
The choreography itself is varied and innovative, incorporating a range of different styles, including salsa and ballet. The repetitive movements used throughout the dance are an expression of the mundane, lives that we all live - clearly not utilising the full capacity - and the piece makes us painfully aware of our own physical redundancies. These actions are physically deconstructed throughout the piece on a background of deep house beats and rapidly changing lights; their colour and movement designed to rope you into this fantastic recreation of the disco culture. They also complement perfectly the attention to detail through which Margarita addresses her facial expressions, a quality that is lacking in many contemporary pieces (we learned this by speaking to audience members who were professional choreographers).
Towards the end of the routine, she swings her arms in an expression of freedom while the lights from all 6 directions around her cycle through red, green and blue. The rapid changes disarm you, and they completely fit the mood of the heavy basslines echoing through the hall. In an age of hyperconnectivity, BEAT offers a chance to switch off and immerse yourself in the unforgivingly honest worldview by an up-and-coming company already making waves in the contemporary dance world. It’s magnificently raw.