By Jen McGregor
Olga Kosterina is an exquisite dancer. From the moment she enters, rolling blindfolded onto the stage, she has the audience in the palm of her hand. She remains graceful and poised even as she contorts her body into some truly astonishing configurations.
A few hand props lie scattered around the stage, waiting for Kosterina to pick them up and bring them to life. In her capable hands a long black skirt becomes a matador cape, a storm cloud, a set of wings – with every twist of her body the image changes, inviting the audience to imagine something new. The score is intense and dramatic, making considerable use of Max Richter’s Memoryhouse. No matter how many dance pieces use his music, it never loses its power to send shivers down the spine (or my spine, at least). It’s ideally suited to the skillfully choreographed struggle the dancer appears to be experiencing as she searches for her shape. The pizzicato strings that accompany an inverted, spider-like posture are particularly memorable.
While the choreography and dancing are spectacular, the storytelling could be a little stronger. As long as the protagonist is caught up in her struggle and her fears, Dilemma remains thrilling and mesmerising. However, once the focus shifts and the protagonist finds herself in harmony with the world, the piece becomes less engaging. If this section were a little shorter it might help to keep the pace up and allow it to go out with a bang to match the ends of the previous sections.
Despite these minor niggles, it’s an excellent show. Kosterina bridges the gaps between dance, physical theatre, mime and gymnastics, and the result is a delight to watch.