Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Jean Abreu and Jorge Garcia collaborate to create Parallel Memories, a dance theatre work which combines dance, voice and architecture. Parallel Memories was created from the desire to explore and discover how different upbringings could produce similar presents as the two Brazilian choreographers realised they had much in common. Abreu and Garcia perform a constant stream of physical conversation and exchange which runs side by side and occasionally merges. Both dancers comprehend each other’s language, but will anyone else understand?
From the promise of a blank box Abreu and Garcia trace their heritage and mark their paths as the stage becomes a canvas. Using white tape and chalk the duo map out their parallel lives. Abreu starts with a slow and considered drawing up of the stage, each pfft of the tape becoming a percussive beat, marking out time. Garcia marks with chalk; circles, swirls and wiggles in comparison to Abreu’s linearity. In the monochrome existence of black box and chalk dust the pair use their markings as a time line, giving them direction as they converse and explore, together and as individuals.
The duo move from memory to memory in a fractured and disjointed fashion, at times it’s as though they are holding on to a fading dream, grasping the last threads of the moment. Gently discovering memories the pair moves with curiosity, with slow motion martial arts they taste their surroundings with their extremities. Other recollections are bold and precise, confidant in the accuracy of their remembering. Going over and over, repeating the same information, forcing the other to accept it as the truth. Abreu and Garcia are particularly captivating when using the marked up stage as a grown-ups playground, moving with the fearless confidence of a young child they recall memories from their childhood.
Watching this piece will make feel muddled just as you do when trying to remember a dream or recount an event from years ago. Parallel Memories will confuse and unsettle you as you try to immerse yourself in the duos world and figure out what it is they are doing. Don’t do that. The audience is not important to this piece so don’t try to involve yourself, be an outsider and respect it for what it is, two peoples journey of their past. Appreciate the physical prowess of the dancers and the assurance they assert as they move around the stage. Parallel Memories provides quality but as the content is so personal to the performers it leaves the audience out in the cold.