4.5 : writing on dance : rowan james

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Rowan James: A Room Full of Elephant. 16.11.2019. The Space In-Between, Sophiensæle, in the frame of NO LIMITS Festival, Berlin.

Rowan (playing Rowan) picks out a tale for us from his pocket. It blows up in shape, floating above our heads––elephants, folktales, double-edge swords and personal-reckonings­­––before it comes to a quiet crack. Exhale. Impeccable timing, swift swivel on the sole of his foot, the marks of stand-up polished and sharp. Pacing within his perfect white square, he surprises us with his technological fable: his iPad deemed irreparable and inoperable by some, by others quirky but salvageable, and yet by many others an example to all other devices. It’s such a good tale: bizarre, unexpected, and acute. We wait hooked in the pauses for his structure to unfold, alternating between laughter and glistening eyes. „The essence of myself / I keep in a bottle, perched on a shelf / a blueprint of tomorrow / an imprint of my yesterday / a secret ingredient of my recipe / a ceramic bowl, a lump of clay… fossils of perfect imperfections.“ Life is strange and arbitrary. Life is hopeful. Perspective matters. A lot. And he helps us see that. His final text sublimating into the air, leaving us with a thumping thumping blueprint, imprint, secret, clay.

Review by Sasha Amaya for Viereinhalb Sätze.