Healr - SOFT co. / Rose Philpott & Jessie McCall
4 October 2018, Q Theatre, Auckland
TEMPO Dance Festival 2018
Reviewed by Summer Aykroyd
Healr conveyed a journey of self-discovery and purification. It asked us if we really were ‘well’ and what that actually meant. The cyclic dynamic movement and compelling soundtrack brought out an almost sci-fi, mesmerising aesthetic enhanced by the intensity of the heating and lighting. Rose Philpott and Jessie McCall, the creators and dancers, brought a genuine connection to their duets and were captivating to watch.
Healr kick-started my 2018 Tempo DanceFestival experience with a sold out audience. We were warned about the heat during the show and were presented with a little pamphlet on our seats to fold into a fan. This combined with the array of minimalistic but futuristic heaters lining the stage intrigued me before the show had even begun; what did it all mean?
The show opened with both dancers in bright yellow purge-esque raincoats. The movement was sharp, strong and perfectly in time. Both dancers had a beautiful quality of movement that captured the intensity of the music and later the vulnerability as they peeled off the clothing and their outer selves. They carried a captivated audience through their journey of self-purification. The choreography was particularly innovative and creative in some parts. One part in particular was where they began crawling together and as one grew, she brought the other with her. The intricacy and connection of their movement was powerful.
A highlight of the performance was the compelling imagery created by the dancers with the costume. The use of the jacket created intricate dynamic movement and shapes. A particularly powerful section was at the end where one of the dancers cut the flesh coloured lycra off the other as she lay in a surgical type setting. This really demonstrated the vulnerability of the self-purification progress.
Healr is definitely a must see for some unsettling thought provocation and powerful aesthetic during Tempo 2018.