Press

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From October, Photo credit to be added

Selected Review Extracts for Athina Vahla 

F-Stop

Greenwich Dance Agency

Vahla’s version departs from the literal content of the source but, as in Beckett, she wants to use the performer as a vessel pouring out strange contents… Sonia Rafferty is a precise mirror of an interior horror, a human machine that obeys an exterior motor while keeping a frightful and rebellious eye on the unfriendly takeover. Her struggle, accompanied by violent mechanical sound, is hypnotic. The long, concentrated process of interiorising rather than mimicking the colonisation of Rafferty’s body is painfully visible.

 

Katjia Werner 

Dance Europe

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Spaces Between

Royal Festival Hall, UK

 

..Our writhing young man I realise is not acting but has cerebral palsy. These are the kids from London whose families hail from all around the world. Some of them are disabled, some of them are uber-abled. And they're bringing the South Bank to where it should be. This is London. And I was incredibly proud. It was brilliant.

 

 Lara Pawson (blog entry)

writer and journalist for BBC World 

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In Praise of Folly

Queen Elizabeth Hall

London, UK

 

There is nowhere to hide in her work, nor any concessions to easy, sympathy-inducing politeness. Every dancer is challenged to deliver the goods full-out. The seven company members dance as if they’ve been hit by a poignant electrical charge.

 

Donald Hutera

South Bank Magazine

UK

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Labyrinth

 

… a dream’s fuzzy surreality and yet a singular

clarity of intent.

 

Ismene Brown

Sunday Telegraph 

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Strand

Infecting the City Festival

Central Station Square 

Cape Town, South Africa 

 

What occurred next in the performance I will not disclose, but hordes of passer-by and even security were sucked into the action that echoed through the white marbled halls of Cape Town’s train station. Not in years have I seen such fervency in a crowd, particularly a crowd that had not intentionally gone to witness a performance. The effect was both electrifying yet unnerving. Unrehearsed, the crowd was mimicking the very element of human nature that the performance was criticising: cruel curiosity.

 

Mustapha Hendricks

Artslink.co.za 

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Alchemy - He Falls a Third Time

London Cultural Olympics

Purcell Room 

South Bank

 

Vahla shows us her character's eventual acceptance of his condition and – eloquently embodied by Opoku-Addaie – the ensuing interplay between exhaustion and the will to survive. Beside him, meanwhile, Gadsden is creating an artwork with frantic speed, fighting her own real-life fight against the dying of the light. In the act of painting, she tells us, she is 'living in the second'. A profoundly affecting reminder of our shared humanity, the work is one of 29 commissioned by the Southbank for its Unlimited festival, celebrating disability, art and culture.

 

Luke Jennings

The Observer, UK

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A Soft Target

 

A Soft Target is a punchy thought-provoking piece focusing on manipulation, wants and desires. Pulsating and sexy this set leaving you without a moment to catch your breath. As a barefoot Kai 3 Tomioka tap dances to Vivaldi you cannot help but be wide-eyed with wonder and awe at just how hard he hits the floor, each controlled sharp slap of his feet transfixing audience. The effect is immense from Vivaldi to a brilliant musical merge into Eminem where Chris Hurst rides ramrod straight atop of the backs of two other dancers Roman chariot style a scene which is utterly compelling.

Amanda Wignall

The State of the Arts

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Verve 

Northern Contemporary School of Dance 

 

...when Verve does give us time to breathe, its imagery is starkly thought-provoking. Choreographer Athina Vahla is an iterdisciplinary artist, working across dance, theatre and visual arts, and this meeting of mediums shines in A Soft Target. This is a more challenging, political work, at times uncomfortable to watch. The overall effect is one of a statement on contemporary vanity: sheer desperation for bodily perfection.

 

Charlotte Constable

Chichester Observer, UK

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De Profundis-Prolongations of Silence

St Andre’s Drill Hall 

St Andrew’s College 

Grahamstown, South Africa 

 

Using Wilde’s plunging lamentation and Rzewski’s fiendishly complex soundscape, Vahla directed Wicherek’s every muscle in every moment. The result was unexpected… The person next to me was close to weeping. That he could be so pierced points to two simultaneous circumstances: he had come prepared to “calculate the orbit of his own soul” and Wicherek’s refined control of her medium provided the austerity of emotion that sent Wilde’s arrow home.

Gillian Rennie

Grocott’s South Africa

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A person writing on Athina Vahla, as an inspirational figure in her career:  

 

I first encountered Athina Vahla’s work at Laban. I worked with this contemporary dance choreographer on several projects including ‘Wrestling an Angel’ – a piece set in an old derelict abattoir in London. One of the things that I find inspirational about Athina’s work is how she creates private vignettes, powerful solos or huge rhythmic formations en-masse that can be beautiful, haunting, aggressive, aloof or almost domineering. I suspect no two audience members walk away from Athina’s productions having felt the same experience.

 

Lisa Marie Trump

Arts Professional, UK

from a series titled: My Gurus

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