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Alleyne Dance - Far From Home

Alleyne Dance

Kristina and Sade Alleyne

The Lowry, Salford

March 26-27, 2024; 1 hr 20 mins

Alleyne Dance in Far From Home. cr Camilla Greenwell
Striving and clutching - Alleyne Dance in Far From Home. All pics: Camilla Greenwell

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Alleyne Dance has a clear and probably unique selling point: its creators, leading performers and choreographers (and marketing managers) are identical twins Kristina and Sade Alleyne.

That offers both opportunity and limitation. In this one-act piece Far From Home, they wisely avoid gimmicky features based upon their similarity, and yet it’s obvious that there are two figures on the stage who – apart from the different colours they wear – look as if they could be the same person. How to use that precious characteristic must have been one of the creative stimuli for the whole enterprise.

It's about migration: that much you’re told in the briefing sheet. It’s “abstract narrative dance”, so there’s some kind of story but a lot left to observers to work out for themselves. The official description speaks of the emotional and mental stresses of migrant families, the meaning of tolerance, the practice of integration and the impact of migrants settling in host communities, so it’s timely and thoughtful.

There are three groups of performers: the six company members - Kristina and Safe, Bryan Doisy, Giorgia Gasparetto, Juan Jesus Guiraldi and Iro Konti; five company interns (all girls); and a larger “community cast”, mainly drawn from The Lowry’s CAT (Centre for Advanced Training) programme . The first 30 minutes or so are presented purely by the company six alone; after that the extras are used sparingly, mainly to amplify the movement of the core group, in the case of the interns, and seemingly to represent the idea of host community in the case of the larger gang, who have their biggest function towards the end as the stage becomes fully peopled.

The house style of the company is striking and well drilled: full of fast, jagged movement and kinetic energy, with a frequent device of bodies piled atop each other to make a kind of pyramid shape, like flotsam and jetsam on a beach. In almost universally dim light, at first individuals are separated, striving, grabbing on to what they can hold, then we see relationships emerge (trust and distrust, welcome and conflict), both between the arrivals and the people they meet. That’s where the twins’ similarity is cleverly used: are they two faces of the same person? Symbolising the recognition that a stranger is just like myself but for the grace of God? Highlighting the risk of alienation for some who start out with the same hopes and dreams as everyone else – the unlucky ones?

The music (Giuliano Modarelli and Nicki Wells) is a sequence of tracks, with silences between, most made up of repeated cells establishing moods. There’s a kind of hinge point around half way, when it seems peace and harmony are breaking out, only for the stresses and agonies of the opening to return and be repeated on a bigger scale.

On reflection, that is a factor that suggests that the graphic and energetic intensity of the piece could possibly be better preserved in a shorter format, perhaps as one part of a double bill rather than a single show.

Info and tickets here


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