Léa Tirabasso, Starving Dingoes

Birmingham Hippodrome


“Starving Dingoes portrays the urgency to live, furiously and passionately”

Award winning choreographer Léa Tirabasso brought her audaciously bold contemporary dance piece, Starving Dingoes to the Patrick Centre at Birmingham’s Hippodrome for a one-off performance before it heads of to contemporary dance hub, The Place, in London.

Armed with an empty stage, with a floor covered in sand. Five remarkable dancers; Alistair Goldsmith, Catarina Barbosa, Karl Fagerlund Brekke, Laura Lorenzi, Laura Patay/Lauren Ellen Jenkins and a thumping, pulsating soundtrack, Tirabasso explores what it means to grow and thrive together. And what happens when the inevitable beast comes knocking at the door?

The beast in this case comes from within the family, one member of the group is malfunctioning. The question, “Do the others repair it or sacrifice it to save the group as a whole?" is the conflict that plays out for us. Eventually reaching a stark, emotional conclusion.

During development and working in collaboration with cancer scientists, Tirabasso was inspired by a process known as “apoptosis” or programmed cellular death.

It is quite stunning to see this idea explored through the choreography. There were times when the dancer’s movement reminded me very much of seeing cells under a microscope. Their bodies twitch and jerk around each other, like tiny organisms, over and over again. Reminding the audience of the continuing primal dance going on in the cells of our own bodies.

The look of the piece crafted by designers Nicolas Tremblay and Thomas Bernard, is incredibly simple but works so well in capturing a feeling of the primitive and ancient. The dancers appear to be climbing their way out of the earth, at first only able to crawl, then shuffle around on their hands and knees and finally stand. The impression that we came from the earth and will one day return to it whispers with each movement through the sand. 

Starving Dingoes is a beautiful and bizarre piece of contemporary dance theatre. With choreography that walks the line between organic and stylized. It is both joyful and tragic and inspires us to question the innate desire we all have to belong. 

Janine Henderson



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