Unanswered! is an ambitious dance piece that is high on energy and ideas but, unfortunately, never quite delivers on its promise.
The opening sequence is everything this piece in its entirety should be: it’s emotive, the tone is clear, the dancers are in sync, and the music and lighting hold it up to be everything it needs to be. It’s mesmerising, hence why I was disappointed that the remainder of the show didn’t live up to its exciting intro.
I’ve always thought of dance as physical story telling. Not in the way a linear narrative tells a story – though dance can do this – but in moments and fragments. What Unanswered! fails to do, for the most part, is convey emotions, which is what drives every great story or moment in history. The dancers are spectacular in their range (and should be duly applauded) and the choreography, in terms of movement alone, is very clever; nonetheless, I was left pondering what it was all about, what I was meant to feel.
Perhaps what this show is guilty of is trying too hard, but not in ostentation. It’s obvious it wants to please the audience, which is why one does walk away with some sense of satisfaction. Nonetheless, this show would benefit from the “less is more” rule of thumb. The choreography and music is often chaotic and busy to no end value. Conversely, the best moments (except for the opening sequence) are when the dancers, the music and the lighting are pared back to reveal an intimacy and truth about the piece that is otherwise absent. The sequence where two women dance intimately with each other is subtle yet highly engaging because the audience is given the opportunity to access the feelings of longing and uncertainty which gives it colour and depth.
Look if you’re in the mood for a dance piece that’s energetic and awe-inspiring in movement and physical prowess, then this show would easily satiate your needs. But if you’re after a show that provides some answers to the unanswered then this is probably not for you.