The Traverse Theatre is the perfect location for emerging theatre artists and practitioners to promote new work by Scottish companies. This is exactly what happens when Room 2 Manoeuvre, an Edinburgh based Dance Company, showcase their Double Bill: Squish / Box Fresh. The company, set up in 2007, has been promoting their contemporary works around the world in Europe, Asia and South America and now bring it back home for an Edinburgh audience. Bringing a different type of dance to the stage they mix hip hop, contemporary dance and physical theatre in combination with themes relevant to international audiences.
The first piece is Squish performed and choreographed by Artistic Director Tony Mills who explores the idea of success. This is an interesting concept as specifically in a 21st Century, Western society it is engrained into us from an early age that success is key in anything you do in life. We therefore become so obsessed by this idea that we end up losing, as we can’t possibly be the best at everything in life. These ideas are cleverly seen throughout the short performance through poignant images created by the choreography and particularly the lighting design by Simon Gane. Set in a squash court, Gane creates a game with Mill’s character and his lighting design, highlighting the demands of success in everyday life and constant desire to win. Mills at times does not always execute the choreography cleanly and his choice of text often distances as humour at times feels misplaced.
The second piece is Box Fresh which is the stronger performance of the double bill. This is an impressive performance which strips the stage bare to let the bodies do the talking. Cheeky chaps, Daniel Lowenstein and Oleg Kircenko set the stage alight with their boundless energy and charismatic humour. They fill the stage and explore the idea of representation and identity through different dance forms. They look at what it is like to be a B-Boy hip hop dancer and then a contemporary dancer showing the differences of identity and preconceived conceptions. What is impressive is the combination of hip hop and contemporary dance which not only is physically demanding but also creates visceral images. The partnership between Lowenstein and Kircenko is striking as they are so in tune with one another and show a great bond for each other.
Room 2 Manoeuvre explore dance in a new and interesting way, they are the new dance group on the scene and they are one to watch out for. They showcase simple yet relevant issues which resonate with all audiences, sadly only in Edinburgh for one night, we can only wonder what they might bring back to show us next time.