From October, Photo credit to be added
Selected Review Extracts for Athina Vahla
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.
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
In Praise of Folly
Queen Elizabeth Hall
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.
South Bank Magazine
… a dream’s fuzzy surreality and yet a singular
clarity of intent.
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.
Alchemy - He Falls a Third Time
London Cultural Olympics
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.
The Observer, UK
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.
The State of the Arts
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.
Chichester Observer, UK
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.
Grocott’s South Africa
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