Art | Light Night Leeds – Digital Narcassus is interactive, effortless and beautiful

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Image: lightnightleeds.co.uk

I’ve been a fan of dance ever since I was a little girl, admiring the elegance, the flaw, the whole beauty of a performer. When I heard of the Digital Narcissus performance showing at Stage@Leeds as part of the Leeds Light Night culture show my excitement was uncontainable.

Studying dance has made me appreciate the value, time and effort that goes into creating a stunning visual display. To create a piece of creative and original choreography is by no means an easy task, yet director George Rodosthenous makes it look effortless and beautifully creates a dance-theatre piece using the four key characters of one actor, one dancer, one performer and a live illustrator.

The piece was just a snippet of a much longer performance which aims to investigate narcissistic behaviour and what it means in contemporary society. To help the audience visualise this the use of an iPad aids the set design, making the performance interactive in an exciting way and reflecting the director’s theme of obsession and aim of highlighting the characters’ narcissistic behaviour patterns.

What starts off as a sketching session with a live illustrator and three bodies on stage gradually transforms into a multi-media performance, reinterpreting the myth of Narcissus on a large scale projection. We see how different people all show different signs of narcissistic behaviour at different stages of life and how this impacts on daily movements. The repetitive movements and raising hand motif can be seen throughout, highlighting the performance’s key themes. In addition, elements of the Graham Technique can be seen in the dancer’s choreography, reflecting what is known as an ‘ugly’ side of dance. However, the performance was far from ugly and instead could even be described as a dance masterpiece.

If I’m ever fortunate enough to encounter Digital Narcissus in its full entirety I’m sure the performance will be even more spectacular, especially considering the Light Night showing was just a forty minute snap shot. It was a brilliant performance all round, and the dancers and director deserve a great deal of praise for portraying such a relevant theme in society in such a clever way.

Emily Willson

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