Evaluation: Alexander Whitley Dance Firm’s Anti-Physique

Alexander Whitley Dance Firm’s Anti-Physique is an exploration of motion and knowledge that may be a resounding technological feat, with dancers and movement responsive visuals set in opposition to an digital soundscape.

The deeply mental thoughts and tutorial method to Alex Whitley’s work sees three dancers interacting with a movement seize system, that’s projected onto subtle screens as white and darkish matter swirls, photographs, and essences of the dancers’ motion.

The technological necessities of the dancers and the tech system impacts not solely the visible output however the bodily enter. The dancers motion is firmly grounded in an nearly mounted stance, legs agency releasing the higher physique expression, giving the dancers a robotic-like aesthetic. 

Experiencing the dancers by way of the subtle screens drew analogies with the world during which we dwell, the place life on socials and digital media is considered by way of filters and results, the place we’re managed by large tech and knowledge pushed algorithms.

The electro / synth / white noise soundscape blaring in opposition to the total stage tech visuals and the angular and repetitive dance was each spectacular and overwhelming. The moments of black and silence had been an surprising reduction, which remind me of the sensation of placing social media down and staring out of the window – the digital versus the analogue. 

Anti-Physique raises questions on the way forward for dance and tech in a Meta world, with NFT artwork and cryptocurrencies. Watching dance by way of a display made me wish to see the dancers’ pores and skin, to have that bodily connection,  and really feel an emotional response with out the filter.

The depth of the sound, the consistently altering visuals and the restrained dance turn out to be a troublesome hour in a small theatre, and it’s simple to think about a Tik Tok Anti-Physique collection being favored by hundreds of thousands of individuals world wide, because it’s consumed in literal byte-sized moments. Within the theatre it seems like the information is extra necessary than the dance, however within the digital house it will be dance earlier than knowledge.

Reviewed at Sadler’s Wells, 8 October 2022.