Maiden Voyage Triple Bill

Maiden Voyage Dance's latest triple bill of works is another maiden voyage for Maiden Voyage. Casting aside the childlike awe and wonder which served them so beautifully in the likes of Quartet For Fifteen Chairs was always going to be a risk, but this is exactly what the popular and highly-regarded Belfast-based dance company have done in their quest to handle love, loss and living under a shroud of moody melancholia.

These abstract works might not be for everyone, but the ultimate power of the works that follow in front of a full house upstairs at Belfast's MAC Theatre suggests that this was a journey worth taking. MVD have once again enraptured and enlightened us in unexpected ways.

Every Something Has A Somewhere, choreographed by Rachel Lopez de la Neita and performed by Carmen Fuentes Guaza, David Ogle and Vasiliki Stasinaki, transports us to a world of clutter. That being, the collectables that inevitably gather space in our garages after years of being piled up. But there is no clutter on the stage – rather, three dancers trapped under ghostly veils and the sound of clearing things out from above. Speed, and impact, of movement, combined with audience imagination, tells the majority of this story before a series of unprecedented vocal outbursts.

What I see in these "ghosts", personally, are signs of people unwilling to let the past go. The already tall Ogle amplifies this by lifting a block to appear even taller under his veil – is he now a growing pile of things that we say we will but might never look at again? As the piece proceeds, and sounds from the Antiques Roadshow are heard, the dancers’ movements increase in variance, forcefulness and speed. Playing both salespeople and customers, our trio highlight the joy, pain, sentiment and value placed in external things, how they enhance and affect human lives. The adjectives that spill loud and clear from the mouths of Ogle and Stasinaki are the tip of the iceberg in a staggering finale.

Ogle returns and is joined by Ryan O'Neill for the more stripped down but equally effective Körper & Leib, choreographed by Oona Doherty and backed by alluringly enigmatic music from Carl Kennedy. Control and synchronicity is paramount for the two dancers who confront, help and complement each other as embryos, siblings, strangers, lovers, fighters, gods, spacemen and of course athletes.

Positive echoes of Chariots Of Fire are felt in this meditative and intense work, whose qualities generally rest in its sometimes exhaustive, sometime relaxing but always compelling emotive physicality. The quiet interlude of a waltz, to a string played "Danny Boy", and the final image of a hanging moon are welcome breaks from the intensity.

Nicola Curry's Landscapes Of Loss , featuring visual art by Sharon Kelly and verbal art by Martelle McPartland, is the most ambitious of the three – and indisputably the most deeply felt. The themes of love, loss and living which have so far been touched upon through collectables and bonding now transfer to still birth and infant loss, with fascinating and devastating results.

With leaves gradually falling from a tree in a corner, and with darkening clouds and a blooming, then dying, plant visible on a projected screen behind them, dancers O'Neill and Fuentes Guaza dig deep to eke out numerous feelings of struggling to continue after such a horrifying turn of events. Senses of longing, abandon, restriction and surrender all ring strong and true, while Kelly's images, McPartland's words and more good work from Kennedy add depth to a piece defined by mental and physical pressure. It's about trying to recover from a lost future, attempting to accept the present and looking forward to a new future – a tale that, like the ones preceding it, contains messages that deserve and need to be heard.

Simon Fallaha

The Maiden Voyage Dance Triple Bill was performed in The MAC, Belfast, on Friday March 3 and Saturday March 4, and will next be performed at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh on Thursday, March 9. For more information check out

Photo by Joe Fox Photography.

Recent Theatre Reviews