Review: Still I Rise
TRIBE// "Still I Rise"
Exeter Phoenix - 8th March 2020
Choreographer: Victoria Fox
Written by ExTS Reviewer, Polly Crockett
What a great and powerful way to finish International Woman’s Day. TRIBE// perform Still I Rise; a piece for five young females, with no limits with their desire to survive. The sounds throughout provide pounding patterns and strings that connect with the brain and the heart, driving movement and pace.
What makes this choreography so current and ‘now’ is due to the fact that the dancers give us hope. It’s what we want to see right now, in our climate of struggles and the seemingly forever battle of inequality. The choices of movement is typical of today’s work, but made special by these particular dancers who provide us visions of beautiful strength.
Still I Rise begins with the dancers wearing grey; they come close to the audience and hypnotise us with their movements. Once they lull us into a sense of expectation they explode into energetic and tribal style dance, with a sense of ‘come on then - If you think you’re hard enough!’ to the audience, challenging us to ever doubt their inner power and physical strength.
We are reminded that indeed, although woman are strong, that they are human; that they have a gentleness and often reach personal limits. The performance progresses to a heart wrenching phase of exhaustion; where we see these women falling, gathering together the last of their energies, getting up, and then falling again. This repetition gives the audience time to consider and remember our own times of feeling like we simply can’t go on. We are given beautiful images of the dancers supporting each other, holding a failing dancer’s head, keeping her from dropping to the floor until she learns she can support herself. They pass this care between them, nurturing the re-growth of their strength and energy. It’s easy to forget the skill it takes for performers to look so broken; these performers are technicians, masters of their knowledge.
A change of costume, from grey to black, provides again, a different pace. A time in the piece which is difficult to read, some mixed messages and not easy to follow. A slight confusion that the characterisation is similar to the previous phase, but with a change of colour and lighting. But, it does provide a softness, a time where the choreography allows us time to recognise a shift in energy. And, we begin to sense that it is from this point, that emotional fatigue has given way to a new determination. Fluid and continuous movement make it known that still, these women will rise, they will get back up and strive. Familiar choreography from phase one of the piece returns and the dancers visually connect with the audience. And once again, we are lifted and carried. These dancers will never stop. The challenge and the fight is back on. And incase you were ever tempted…don’t mess with these girls - these young females will join with others and create a force to be reckoned with.
TRIBE// perform again 11th March, Stratford Circus, London. And are performing this work through the summer at outside locations.