Edinburgh Fringe Review: Am I

by eloisehendy

There is contemporary dance cliché that it is often unwisely used as a space to explore issues and social problems. There has been many a bad dance that aims to recreate the tale of global warming, or global capitalism, through the medium of a flailing arm and a prance. It appears from the promotion of LCP Dance Theatre’s piece ‘Am I’ that this could be another movement performance in this vein. The message boldly displayed across flyers that ‘Dance Stops Trafficking’ seems a noble and necessary aim, but perhaps a misguided one. Dance is powerful and emotive, but when, as the flyers also say, 29 million women and children are forced into sexual slavery every year, a high energy, intricately choreographed hour of thrusts and lunges just may not be enough.

This is criticism that is not meant to belittle the intentions of dancers and choreographers to draw from and attempt to tackle serious, painful and important themes. Surely anything that keeps issues like these in our collective consciousness must be useful, yet LCP just do not seem to be quite able to rise to the issue they attempt to explore. The dancing itself is far from bad, quite the opposite. The group are immaculate in their movements and the choreography is tight and impressive.

However, the entire piece feels dragged out and muddled. Even the blurb that aims to ‘stop trafficking’ also professes to blur the line between victim and trafficker. This is surely more than misguided, but dangerous. It seems that, despite obvious talent, this company simply cannot fulfil the challenge it has set itself. The repetitive, fractured nature of the work makes it difficult to see a clear or powerful message being embodied.