Dancers cut and slide across the stage, swinging from and leaping off a piece of set built to look like the skeleton of a tower block. They jump onto and dive over each other with dazzling energy and speed. The “extreme sports” theme is used more as an inspiration than in mimetic motifs; Fitzgerald’s choreography summons up the sense of risk and thrill without directly drawing on sports-based movements.
One man climbs to the top of the tower. The lights blink, as we sense desperation. Suddenly, with arms outstretched, he lets himself fall. From this incredible stunt, we are immersed into a choreographed Orwellian world. Dressed in blue overalls and white shirts, six men begin a series of identical and monotonous movements, reminiscent of ordinary day-to-day jobs. Suddenly one dancer breaks the repetition; then another one, and finally all of them. ‘Out of His Skin’ combines the fragility of contemporary ballet, rough hip hop, break-dancing and breath taking acrobatic stunts.
This idea of “urban contemporary” came across well in Out of His Skin. It begins with a brooding solo by Ed Warner atop a muti-storey tower on one side of the stage. This solo ends with Warner falling backwards, arms outstretched off the back of the highest tier… onto a stunt mattress. The show quickly vamps up into a pounding array of solo, duet and group work, with more level changes and high arcing tricks than I can count. Snippets of break dance vocabulary were connected by smooth transitions and blended with contemporary floor work and standing movement.
So, how would you define risk? Financial gambles? Unlikely love affairs? In Out Of His Skin, 2Faced Dance make it all intensely physical, picking up on the trend for extreme sports that carry the risk of injury or even death. A scaffolding tower at one side acts as the block of flats where restless adrenalin-junkies literally climb the walls and occasionally launch themselves off the roof, parkour-style. In between times, the shadowlands of the stage space hint at the inner darkness that drives one man to the brink of self-destruction. There’s a relentless edge to the music and the movement, and maybe the hour it lasts pushes us to the limit. But the 2Faced lads are such a a fit, dynamic ensemble – melding hip-hop power moves with athletic contemporary dance – that there’s no risk whatsoever in buying a ticket: they more than deliver the promised rollercoaster thrills.