- Lucy Ribchester
- 23 August 2019
The power of intimacy burns through this beguiling duet from Eve Mutso and Joel Brown
Joel Brown enters in a wheelchair, then leaves it at the back of the stage. He slides to the floor and pushes into a passage of curls and knots, hooking his legs smoothly underneath him as he rolls. He tells us how the partnership between himself – a dancer from California – and Eve Mutso – former principal of Scottish Ballet – came about. What began in a workshop continued into a series of long letters between the US and Scotland, and has now segued into an invitation to dance.
It's a disarming, generous introduction, which as much as anything, implicitly invites us not to fixate too much on reading this or that into the physical poetry of bodies that follows. They are dancing together; that is all.
But what is conceptually simple is visually beguiling. Mutso climbs onto the wheel of Brown's chair as he lies in it, on his side. He spins her; she becomes a wiser, more sensual version of a ballerina in a jewellery box. She uses the arms of his wheelchair to balance; he leans at an angle, bracing her weight.
There's a clean geometry to the first part, set to the folksy tones of the Penguin Café Orchestra. But then the music shifts to Dawn of Midi's 'Atlas' and a North African sway injects into Mutso's hips. She is held aloft by Brown and he powers backwards, carrying her like Cleopatra. The intimacy ramps up and it becomes not only the interlocking of their bodies but the spaces they create between them that hold an electric charge. She casts her hand inches from his head, moving with the movement of his neck. Later she will recline as he swings from a scaffold, before they both climb around the structure. Brown explains that the title represents the sum of their vertebrae; his spine is fused, meaning he has 11. She moves, he says, 'like she has 100'.
It's a conversation between two dancers who know exactly the power of their individual bodies, and how to multiply that power by combining them.
Greenside @ Nicolson Square, until 24 Aug, 12.30pm, £12 (£10).