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Origami launched the 2017 Dance Umbrella festival at Battersea Power Station. Created by Paris-based Satchie Noro and Silvain Ohl, the 40-minute site-specific piece offers Londoners the chance to view modern dance for free in public spaces. Noro emerges from a carmine coloured shipping container, which de-constructs and reconfigures in new arrangements. The slow and measured folding of the mobile sculpture is reminiscent of origami, for which the dance is named; but also illustrates the puzzle piece fitting of tangrams.

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Photo Credit: Johnny Stephens.

A small V-shaped fissure forms in the shipping container as a triangular panel glides upward. Soon, Noro’s figure emerges. Her body is folded in half, draped over a pole, as her legs pedal slowly. But as her body dangles by her feet, the feeling is all suspension.

Although the Noro often moves in tandem with the container, throughout the duet she responds to the continuously changing geometric landscape as it stretches, flexes and tilts. Seemingly unaware of the audience, but fully invested in her exploration, Noro thoroughly examines physical possibilities in the space.

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Photo Credit: Johnny Stephens.

Even in challenging postures, Noro finds ease. She plops her leg onto a high ledge and relaxes; she settles in comfortable repose as wires support her underarms; and perched on a ledge, her head falls back in serene surrender.

Watching Origami is meditative. Noro performs clearly, steadily and deliberately. She nonchalantly transitions in and out of dicey moments when she grasps onto small pegs like a rock climber. Noro elegantly personifies her clear intention and concentration.

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Photo Credit: Johnny Stephens.

As the shifting planes level out horizontally, Noro claims the rooftop space by spinning along its length. She swings an axe, her arm acting as a pendulum. And as amplified heartbeats sound, the axe thuds into the container.

The container hums back into motion. The machine slowly unfurls and Noro drops neatly back inside. But now there is a window for when she wants to re-emerge and continue her exploration.

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Photo Credit: Johnny Stephens.

Origami Performance Locations

The 40-minute free performance of Origami feels informal, since even passers-by get caught up in the spectacle and casually join the audience. Unfortunately, some of the people meant to manage the spectators detracted more from the performance than those they were trying to reign in. Origami should be shared with as many viewers as possible, and it would be best to warmly welcome dance newcomers. Perhaps performances at one of the other locations (Peninsula Square, Artillery Square, The Queen’s Gardens and Trinity Buoy Wharf) will be more inviting.

Top tip: Photography enthusiasts will want to bring their best zoom lenses since attendees are allowed to take photos of the performance.

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Photo Credit: Johnny Stephens.

Dance Umbrella 2017

Since its inaugural year in 1978, the Dance Umbrella festival annually breathes international dance into London. The celebration of 21st century choreography invites audiences to experience a wide range of performances, some set in the traditional theatre, while some are scattered throughout the city’s open spaces. With the aim to “entice audiences, nurture artists, innovate practice, and stimulate interest in the power of the body in motion,” Dance Umbrella additionally provides a range of workshops, classes, lectures and professional development opportunities. The 2017 Dance Umbrella festival runs from 11 – 28 October.

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Photo Credit: Johnny Stephens.

Disclaimer: Up&AtEm Travel was provided show admission for an honest review. To work with me for reviews, guest blogs, social media marketing and more – contact me for a personalised quote.  

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