HEALR is an intriguing exploration of the concept of wellbeing in 2016.
Created and performed by leading dance independents, Rose Philpott and Jessie McCall, it is a sculpted and thought-provoking commentary that interrogates the many facets of wellness – and the complexities that sit beneath the surface.
The narrative is simple, and for the most part, beautifully transcribed through the movements of its creators. Exquisitely symmetrical, Philpott and McCall (pictured) are captivating performers and their choreography is powerful, taut and absorbing.
However, the strength of the work lies not just in the execution but in its creators’ ability to draw together a cohesive aesthetic. The soundscape includes a number of well-chosen tracks such as Treats by Sleigh Bells, Tiny Grief Song by Sinead O’Connor and Hope, Faith and Love by Eric Whitacre. These aural additions complement Paul Bennett’s strikingly effective lighting and add to the carefully constructed microcosm.
Pops of colour comes from the fluorescent costumes of the performers. The palette extends from canary yellow raincoats to soft blue woolly jumpers and grey tracksuits and the movement score culminates in the performers embracing the nude tones of tight-fitting peach lycra.
Although minimalist, HEALR’s key set element includes heaters placed upon various shelves radiating in the background. When the mercury rises (and audiences are warned temperatures maybe in excess of thirty degrees), the dance slips into a meditative state building an interesting juxtaposition of the slow pulsating movement of the performers against the orange glare from the heaters. Although beguiling, this is also one of the most passive sections and drops the momentum of an otherwise dynamic conversation.
Running for just under 50 minutes HEALR is a reflection of extensive work. While it still needs some trimming the work carries a remarkable sense of pervasive beauty that is well worth witnessing.