A stark, empty office space is transformed into the exciting and rather sinister setting for a surreal dance performance. A man with Down syndrome in a three-piece suit makes rhythmic, voguing-like movements in time to the music. A man without legs enters. A couple dance together, exuding both power and love. A woman in a wheelchair moves gracefully across the stage. The music is eclectic, from dramatic classical to uplifting beats. The jazzy voice of Nina Simone and the poppy sounds of the band Family sweep us along with this diverse company. The dance styles keep transforming, bringing constant surprises, and the piece exudes energy. The dancers seek each other out, help one another and reject each other. Without words, the performers create a parallel world in which there’s space for vulnerable human interaction.
Artificial Things is a collaboration between filmmaker Sophie Fiennes and choreographer Lucy Bennet of the British dance group Stopgap Dance Company, which is committed to integrating disabled and non-disabled people through dance.