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Two Thirds Sky
Hold 2010/11
If Florence + The Machine were a dance company they would make work like this. In their latest piece Two Thirds Sky reinvents dance's relationship with romanticism - not tutu tulle and Giselle's madness, but the 19th century philosophy that sees the romantic as being between the real and the imagined.

The duet sees two dancers hurtle from the darkness to become what choreographer Lisa Spackman calls "apparitions of a forgotten past." Integrating intricate choreography with live vocals and costume; "Hold demands that you live vicariously through the performers, I was rapt throughout and exhausted by the end!" BedsFringe 2010.

The work was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011, attracting good audiences and a number of positive reviews:

"The combination of the dancers' unique relationship and Spackman's mesmerising style of movement makes for a performance that is technically excellent, but also filled with an emotional vitality that leaves us desperate for it not to end."

- Sally Stott, The Scotsman

"This female duet makes the bold claim to be readdressing the nature of romanticism using nineteenth century philosophy. It's an awful lot to achieve in a 35 minute set, but the length does keep the performance captivating and fresh throughout. Physically, movements have a distinctive organic fluidity and are set against fitting classical and period music which lends an air of elegance. Overall, the choreography and costumes cleverly convey the fusion of reality and imagination, mixing the everyday brushing of hair with fantastical touches like the cloak of stars. Romanticism, they tell us, does not consist of the delicately regulated artificialities of ballet, but is to be found in this charmingly woven naturalism."

- Alice Longhurst, Three Weeks

"This year is my first experience of both the Fringe and contemporary dance, and after tonight's show, I genuinely wish I'd done both sooner. Within this genre of performance, there are myriad interpretations to be drawn, but what immediately grabs you about Hold, is the incredible ability of the dancers to pull you into their world; aptly expressing a mixture of emotions ranging from trepidation and despair, to childlike intrigue, unfettered joy and unity. Quite how the dancers remember all the moves is difficult to comprehend, but that quickly becomes a forgotten thought once the suspense of the opening sequence gives way to a powerful, undulating routine held together by enough of a narrative to feel connected to the characters, and their collective struggle. Getting the audience to feel empathy with the protagonists is difficult enough within any genre of performance, to achieve it when the true nature of their predicament is so ambiguous, takes genuine skill and rare flair. Hold has both those qualities in abundance, leaving me wanting more after the half-hour was up... A great introduction to the festival, and the art form."

- Lee Rowlett, Audience review via edfringe.com

Choreography and concept: Lisa Spackman
Technical Design: Gareth Risdale

Performers: Hannah Birch and Laura Gibson.

Technician: Luke Harnett


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Photography by Rachel Cherry
and Theresa Haworth

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