The Chosen (4 stars)

The Chosen

Reflection on death proves to be full of life

Choreographer Kally Lloyd-Jones' piece about death and dying opens with the loud throb of a heartbeat. Six dancers sit on mirrored cubes looking relaxed, apparently completely unaware of the sound of life that's booming out of the speakers around them.

Lloyd-Jones wanted to create a work that explores the universal, complex reality of death, following a horrible year where she lost four people, including her best friend. Although The Chosen is about dying (the title is a reference to Stravinsky's ballet, The Rite of Spring, where the chosen one is sacrificed, but also honoured), what the show mostly focuses on is how people go about the living part, knowing that the dying part is unavoidably in the post.

The movement is often intensely physical; athletic, near-violent, exhilarating spins and falls follow more stationary sections including one sequence where the dancers tap feet, bite nails, sigh impatiently then pace the floor, as if to remind us how much of life is spent waiting for something. That's a long section compared to the brief, beautiful flashes of love; two boys tenderly locked in each other's arms for a few seconds, friends wrapping arms around shoulders or a brief burst of grinning and partying.

The dancers from Glasgow-based Company Chordelia are soaked in sweat by the end, having rippled themselves through swirling patterns of ebbing water as a soundtrack of crashing waves plays, then interlocking limbs and dangling torsos off each other in a twisted, clumsy, entangled relationship section, with some incredible paired work.

A fast-forwarded section of twitchy, hurried actions is also impressive, another reflection on the passage of time; sometimes dragging, then suddenly speeding by. The subject matter could have made for a maudlin piece, but instead the dancers coax out ideas about how we waste or embrace the time we spend being alive.

Dance Base, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 5pm, £13 (£11).

The Chosen

  • 4 stars

World premiere tour of Chordelia's moving dance piece that expresses how we experience the time left to us.

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