Corporeal calli­graphy

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No costumes, no props: we saw the raw nudity of the dance. Photos: Capo and Helena Fagan

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Joshua Beamish is not just another in a long line of experts from ‘the north’. He is not here to force feed ideas and impose templates. The Canadian-born, New York-based choreographer has come to put his magic into the pot with ours, and to make something new that we can all call our own. The result, Keep Cover, the ballet, will premier as part of Cape Dance Company’s Cadence season from Nov 28 to Dec 7 at Artscape.

His medium is the body, he is a calligrapher. Last night we saw the Cape Dance Company showcasing his new font. Each new letter is astonishing and individual. Some are made of one body, others two, there are those that are intricately woven from four bodies and finally we see some that are created from 11. Each letter is new and interesting, revealing and unique, yet all are consistent, clearly a part of the same alphabet.

The dancers reach out and touch each other throughout the performance making words and telling stories. They are independent yet never alone.

Michelle says: We have seen the future! We are in it. This is how people are communicating: everyone is independent and whole, but each is deeply connected to the group.

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A process you might call serendipity

Joshua Beamish tells us he instructs briefly, off his own body, and then he watches. He lets the dancers interpret his instruction. At times they will follow instructions exactly; at others they will interpret in unusual and surprising ways, adding a little of their own vocabulary, subconsciously including new and old references of their own.

These are the “mistakes and accidents” that Beamish leaves in so that every movement is “a lot of me and a little bit of each of them”.

Siobhan Cassidy

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