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5  2 10

5 2 10 was the final piece made at the Royal Opera House completing our 6 year tenure. A wonderful 6 years thanks to Deborah Bull, Phyllida Ritter and Phillipa Rooke, a great team. 5 duets, 2 solos and 10 instruments. I created this piece as my mother was dying and when I lost my first child. Its a piece I hold dear to my heart.


I based the duets and solos on the energetic system running through the physical body, otherwise known as the 'chakra system'. The word Chakra is a Sanksrit word meaning “wheel” or “circle”, and it refers to the individual circular spinning wheels of energy located throughout the body. The Chakra System helps to explain the movement of this life force or “energy”, and can help us understand ourselves. It's a system I continue to work with in my creative work. 'My' dancers are incredible: Catherine Bennett, Lee Clayden, Jason Keenan-Smith and Jenny Tattersall. 


Again it was met with mixed reviews. A beautiful review written by Donald Hutera in the Times. I can't seem to lay my hands on it!


5 2 10 takes you on an evolutionary journey through the human emotions with fervent, powerful music - played live - and dance of heart-stopping athleticism and beauty. 5 2 10 is dance and music infused with the colours and emotions of the body’s seven chakras from root to crown. Each chakra represents a spiritual life lesson – love, communication, wisdom, creativity and the connection to our higher power. Choreographed by Fin Walker with a new score by Ben Park and designed by the award-winning John Napier, Lucy Carter and Jack Galloway. Provocative and captivating, 5 2 10 is performed by a company of seven extraordinary performers. Walker Dance Park Music, directed by choreographer Fin Walker and composer Ben Park, is an associate company of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.


Daily Info online: Oxford Playhouse performance October 25th 2007

Lita Doolan 2007


Stripped down to bare essentials as the title of the work suggests, this is 5 duets 2 solos and 10 instruments played live on stage, performed by four contemporary dancers of Walker Dance Park Music. In each of the 7 pieces a different colour costume is worn to represent a chakra energy, so whilst each dance stems from a separate idea and rhythm there is a unifying theme to the programme. It is fascinating to watch the bold confidence of a new British dance company emerge and energising to watch them generate their own take on what contemporary dance is. Retained are the modern dance benchmarks of women lifting men in equal partnership, Jack Galloway’s costume designs are unisex in the use of shorts and fitted vests and the punishing yet rewarding instigation of bare feet is standard. Boundaries are pushed in the endeavour to increase power, strength and athleticism particularly in the opening dance, to build resonance into each move rather than freeze the body further into a static posture that is perceived as graceful. Innovative to WDPM is the placement of the 3 musicians in close proximity to the dancers placing sound and movement on an equal footing. Ben Park’s harmonious compositions shy within a hair’s breadth of being a hummable melody hence do not dominate the audience’s attention. A variety of beats sound on saxophone, bassoon, marimba, piano and congas respond in tone to the dancers’ mood. The orange-costumed second duet representing the sacral chakra shows repetitions of rapid and slow steps indicating how we connect to each other but also with ourselves.


A hallmark of this company is single concepts well worked and presented, each piece remaining true throughout to the idea it originated from. Whilst Fin Walker is the undoubted creative brain behind the instinctive choreography, the degree of free flow the dancers exhibit moving through the steps indicate an element of improvised collaboration. This makes the show all the stronger as the company as a whole performs with a convincing certainty. This pays off particularly well in the two solos that describe the emotional heart and throat chakras where a pensive connection to the dimensions and weight of limbs is explored. The Autumn tour of ‘5 2 10’ features the dancers, Catherine Bennett, Jason Keenan-Smith, Hian Ruth Voon and Joel Corpuz, who take turns in sweeping the crispy fallen leaves from the stage in between dances. Later the carefully cleared leaves are chaotically flung over head, the flames lit earlier either side of John Napier’s set design still burning bright, as the show approaches a final white-costumed duet. One of the strongest narrative features of the show is the impressive variety of lifts and these allow the company to cover a lot of ground in just 65 minutes. The meditative slow curling lifts used in this last duet give me a feeling of warm womb-like security, a lush ending and a great way to go and face the sharp late Autumn night air. However reading the programme I’m not sure that’s the exact response the final duet intended, it is the crown chakra namely our connection to a higher power that the last dance represents. But beneath this I read a company quote, ‘We love it when our work draws responses’. That’s the catch-all beauty of this abstract art form and it reminds me why I love dance so much.



October 25, 2007

4 dancers, some instruments and a stage littered with bark. The dancers sweep the bark away between their set dance pieces, or shovel the bark back into the middle of the stage and then sweep again. 


5 2 10 is seven dances (5 duets and 2 solos) set to music by 10 instruments, hence the name. I was not able to distinguish 10 different instruments on the stage but some of the music may well have been pre-recorded. The seven set pieces represent the chakras, the seven energy systems of the body, starting from the base chakra (which is red) and moving up through the body to the seventh chakra which is the crown (white). I read the programme with interest and stayed to listen to the talk after the show with Fin Walker (responsible for choreography) and Ben Park (music). Fin talked about the process they went through to create 5 2 10. They start with the dance and Fin works on the language and the phrasing and then the music responds to that. In fact, the dancers are specifically told not to dance to the music. 


Fin also said that it was not important to know anything about the chakras - what was important was the experience, the response that each individual has and herein lies my problem with 5 2 10. I was amazed and delighted by the dancers themselves, Catherine Bennett, Lee Clayden, Jason Keenan-Smith and Jenny Tattersall. The first dance was a solo and the dancer’s suppleness and sensuous movements had me enthralled; the following dances were equally impressive - the dancers moving round each other or holding and lifting each other in a sort of angry interdependence. Sometimes one would clasp the other and the latter would collapse marionette-like or the dancers would freeze in almost sculptural poses before sweeping into another movement. The choreography was stunning. However, the music seemed to bear no relation to the dances. At times the insistent and monotonous urgency of the music distracted from the dancing; at times the dancers seemed to move against the rhythms of the music. Why have the music if it was not relevant to the dance? 


Only in the last duet, an exquisite sensual and sensuous dance in white accompanied by a single instrument did the music and the movement go together and the result was quite wonderful. If the other dances had had the same treatment I would have gone home happy.

This latest collaboration from choreographer Fin Walker and composer Ben Park is inspired by the body's chakras, the seven energy centres which, according to yogic tradition, are ranged along the spine. Walker has choreographed each of its sections with a specific physical emotion, from lyric serenity to athletic ferocity, while Park has responded with seven vividly different sound worlds, coloured by saxophone, bassoon, marimba and congas. The work's enigmatic title is actually a logical description of its structure, referring to the five duets, two solos and 10 instruments from which it is composed.

Judith MacKrell

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