Theatre review: Errol White Company: Breathe, Edinburgh

Errol White and Davina Givan perform a deeply intimate duet
Errol White and Davina Givan perform a deeply intimate duet
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Lighting plays a pivotal part in most dance shows, but sometimes it’s almost like another dancer on stage. As Errol White and Davina Givan stand bathed in bright white light, it’s as if something is drawing them towards it. Later, those same lights illuminate pockets of empty space on the floor, leaving us to imagine what could take place there.

Errol White Company: Breathe - Edinburgh Festival Theatre Studio

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If you watched Breathe without any kind of prior knowledge, it would still feel like a deeply intimate duet. But once you know that White and Givan are a married couple, it takes on a whole other resonance.

With abstract dance, you formulate your own intepretation, be it narrative or purely emotional, so it’s up to us to speculate how much the on-stage choreography mirrors reality.

Either way, there’s an interesting dynamic at play here. At first, White and Givan are two distinct individuals, commanding their own areas of the stage. He’s dressed in t-shirt and trousers, she wears a dress. But then they leave the space and everything changes.

Upon her return, Givan’s outfit now matches White’s, so that during a tight, danced embrace it’s hard to know where one begins and the other ends.

Moments of support pepper the piece, including a strong recurring lift in which White balances Givan on his shoulders. The support, however, seems to continually flow one way – from him to her – which doesn’t make for particularly egalitarian viewing.

Seen on 10.10.14