Review by Kate Gaul
“Harvest” is a Danish dance performance exploring the body across agriculture and dance. How do humans shape and cultivate nature and how does a trade shape us? What is it to cultivate a body? In “Harvest” two performers from different traditions, a contemporary Danish dancer, and a neo-flamenco Puerto Rican dancer, embody these questions in a stage setting that incorporates soil and grass. The audience sit in-the-round n platforms – it’s a short performance. There is music and a multitude of sounds from modern agriculture, resonates through a large reverberating floor, shaking the room and setting the soil, the dancers, and the whole space in motion. Do our occupations change our bodies? How do we choreograph work? What would these dancers’ bodies reveal about their work if they were discovered years after death and examined? How does the body and mind work together?
There is much writhing and jolting, as well as the sounds that a body can make – slapping thighs, knocking knuckles, drumming palms on the deck where the audience sit, and clicking fingers. The sounds evoke the seasons especially rain and a rhythm of life that runs through everything. Clothing is ragged and repurposed, as if these workers practically transform what they need to suit the job.
Centre stage sits a large tray of soil with plonks of grass diagonally planted. The dancers dig, roll, nurture, and transplant in this space. Agricultural labour is evoked by some of the movements, while others suggest the breeze, for example. There’s no definite narrative its rather a poetic compilation of responses around the questions posed. The shape of the show is disjointed and unexpected. The performers speak too. For example, the Puerto Rican dancer has trained in but somehow feels less connected to, feeling more aligned with Puerto Rico’s African origin bomba style, or a rural egg laying dance which mimics hens, she explains. A pair of flamenco shoes have teased us – sitting at the edge of the soil. Finally, an impressive flamenco scene unfolds to complete “Harvest”. I am not sure what is discovered but it’s a diverting 50 minutes full of musings.