Leviathan from James Wilton Dance at Contact, Manchester is a stunning piece of dance, based around a Brazilian martial art form, capoeira, and inspired by Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick. There’s a great Guardian article here to explain the technique. Perhaps the most important is that movements involve floor contact with both feet and hands, and includes elements of both competition and assistance. I’m not sure you need to know the novel to appreciate the dance.
Performed by one female and five male dancers, the performance is split into seven very distinct sections, with two clear scenarios. One, the relationship between the men, flows through competition and killing, isolation, collaboration, despair and the chase, using the very physical and combative dance moves. The other, nature, highlights the beauty and wildness of the whale through flowing, beautiful movement. There is a clear theme, that man’s relationship with nature has always been, and will always be, fragile.
Throughout, the production is backed by perfectly selected music from Lunatic Soul, ranging from evocative otherworldly soundscapes to powerful bass/keyboard combinations. Without words, dance must communicate through emotion and the interrelationship between music and movement is what makes this production so strong.
Beautiful to watch, a perfectly matched sound track, with fascinating themes of masculinity and our relationship with nature.
Leviathan was at Contact, Manchester from 16-17 May 2017.