Jonathan Burrows
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Speaking Dance
The Evening Standard, London, 2006
Little dance but lots of charm

Anyone reading with a mobile to hand should dial The Place box office and buy a ticket for Speaking Dance, if they're still available that is.

Chances are, this funny, clever, ingenious miniature has sold out, despite being a polytonal nonsense chant by two middle-aged men sitting on scruffy old chairs.

No dance? No music? Well a bit, but it's mostly a thing of indefinable charm. It begins and ends with choreographer Jonathan Burrows and composer Matteo Fargion sitting on
a plain stage. They recite words and phrases in a rhythmic

game of hide and seek, the words describing both movement (jump, stretch) and its quality (slow, high).

Burrows and Fargion literally speak dance - you hear what dance looks like. The impish pair echo, mimic, and chase each other's phrases, they shift emphasis and volume, and then counterpoint the other's intonation. They say aaahhh and grunt and whistle, and then clap and rub their hands.

Absurdist self-indulgence, you'll be thinking, but what you see is revelation and joy. It's also the third, and possibly last part in their trilogy exploring the shifts and links between dance and music. The duo are under the Radar, but light years ahead.

Sarah Frater

Related Items
Articles: Article by Daniela Perazzo Domm on Speaking Dance, Article by Tim Etchells on the first trilogy of duets
Interviews: Interview with Natasha Hassiotis, Interview with Sandra Voulgari, Interview with Carmel Smith, Interview on voice, language and body, with Ixiar Rozas, Interview on Speaking Dance with Daniela Perazzo Domm, Interview with Gia Kourlas for The Village Voice, New York, 2011, Interview with Milka Djordjevich for Critical Correspondence, www.movementresearch.org, New York, 2011
Reviews: Speaking Dance, Speaking Dance
Photos: Speaking Dance Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion
Scores: Speaking Dance

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