Handspun, reviews


Hobson's Choice; Exposure: Dance –review

Birmingham Hippodrome; Linbury Studio, London

Luke Jennings

The Observer, Sunday 26 February 2012

On a quieter note I loved Ilona Jäntti's (and Luke Styles’s) Handspun, an aerialist performance piece set to a live cello solo. Eschewing the usual death-defying circus turns, Jäntti gave us dreamy lyricism, hanging from her rope like a drowsy spider and slowly circling in a golden light. While clearly born of the steeliest skill, the piece gave an impression of profound detachment and peace. I envied her.

Exposure – review, Linbury, London

Sanjoy Roy

guardian.co.uk, Friday 24 February 2012 17.08 GMT

Luke Styles's score is packed with tonal and dynamic variety,

On the ropes

The Spectator; March 2012 | by: GIANNANDREA POESIO |

‘Aerial’ ballets were all the rage in late-Victorian London. It mattered little that they were more circus acts than actual ballets; their female stars, swinging from either a trapeze or sturdy ropes, were worshipped on a par with the greatest ballerinas — as in Angela Carter’s novel Nights at the Circus. I often wonder what those people would think of

their postmodern successors, as performing with ropes seems to be a growing trend within contemporary dance-making.

Take Ilona’s Jäntti’s (and Luke Styles’s) Handspun, which opened the Exposure: Dance programme at the Linbury Studio Theatre last week. Jäntti combines unique rope-climbing and choreographic skills in a work that makes viewers forget technical bravura and focus,

instead, on a well-designed game of dramatic tensions. Her interaction with the ropes turns those implements into co-protagonists, with whom she engages in a silent, though theatrically expressive dialogue. And, as in every conversation with the most trusted of friends, tones vary considerably, shifting from the affectionate to the confrontational, from the teasing to the coquettish. At the back of the stage cellist

Louise McMonagle adds to this surreal dialogue by playing Luke Styles’s effective score, a sort of modern take on the musique parlante, or ‘speaking music’ that ballet composers went in for in the 19th century.