Excellent components strive to be whole

By Caitlin McGrane

I walked out of Miss Universal and needed quite a while to process what I had seen. When I walked into the performance space I was instructed to ‘interpret it’ in any way I wanted. Speaking to other audience members they were similarly told that there was no wrong place to stand but if you happened to be in the wrong place you would be moved along by the performance: all very mysterious and contemporary. The performance was innovative, eclectic and unlike anything I had seen in a dance performance: it was well conceptualised, directed and choreographed by Atlanta Eke, who also performed alongside Annabelle Balharry, Chloe Chignall and Angela Goh.

Miss Universal.jpg

The performances were excellent and I found myself variously moved, bemused and amused throughout. The trouble was for me that the work did not hang together as a coherent whole; this may not have been the intention in the first place but what it meant for me was that while there was nothing boring about the performance itself, I found myself eventually bored. I think the performance works best if you think about it as a series of visual vignettes rather than holding a narrative or theme through the performance. Chunky Move’s performance space was utilised well, and the performers demonstrated exceptional agility and versatility as they manipulated levels and the traditional space between performer and audience.

The lighting, designed by Matthew Adey from House of Vnholy, lit the space in a sickly hue that exposed imperfections on everyone’s skin, lending an ‘other worldly’ quality to the show. This ethereal quality was enhanced by the excellent and jarring score from composer Daniel Jenatsch.

Overall I really wish Miss Universal had resonated more with me, but other opinions are available and I would encourage those who appreciate contemporary dance to experience it for themselves.

Miss Universal is now showing at Chunky Move until 12 December 2015. More information and tickets from: