Assessment: Alexander Whitley Dance Firm’s Anti-Physique

Alexander Whitley Dance Firm’s Anti-Physique is an exploration of motion and information that could be a resounding technological feat, with dancers and movement responsive visuals set towards an digital soundscape.

The deeply mental thoughts and educational strategy to Alex Whitley’s work sees three dancers interacting with a movement seize system, that’s projected onto subtle screens as white and darkish matter swirls, pictures, and essences of the dancers’ motion.

The technological necessities of the dancers and the tech system impacts not solely the visible output however the bodily enter. The dancers motion is firmly grounded in an nearly mounted stance, legs agency releasing the higher physique expression, giving the dancers a robotic-like aesthetic. 

Experiencing the dancers via the subtle screens drew analogies with the world wherein we reside, the place life on socials and digital media is considered via filters and results, the place we’re managed by large tech and information pushed algorithms.

The electro / synth / white noise soundscape blaring towards the complete stage tech visuals and the angular and repetitive dance was each spectacular and overwhelming. The moments of black and silence have been an surprising reduction, which remind me of the sensation of placing social media down and staring out of the window – the digital versus the analogue. 

Anti-Physique raises questions on the way forward for dance and tech in a Meta world, with NFT artwork and cryptocurrencies. Watching dance via a display made me need to see the dancers’ pores and skin, to have that bodily connection,  and really feel an emotional response with out the filter.

The depth of the sound, the consistently altering visuals and the restrained dance develop into a tricky hour in a small theatre, and it’s straightforward to think about a Tik Tok Anti-Physique collection being appreciated by tens of millions of individuals all over the world, because it’s consumed in literal byte-sized moments. Within the theatre it looks like the information is extra necessary than the dance, however within the digital house it could be dance earlier than information.

Reviewed at Sadler’s Wells, 8 October 2022.