Lindsey Butcher is suspended on a loop of rope, twisting like an abseiler or hovering horizontally as she treads on air. The rope gradually winches round, producing a kind of reverse gravity that drags her upwards when she’s not actively climbing downwards.
Falling Up is a contemplative solo and an apt opening to Taking Flight, an “aerial dance installation” in which Butcher is less interested in circus feats than in exploring bearings, in both senses: supporting equipment and orientation.
In Wallflower, a film by Jane Hodge of a solo choreographed by Yael Flexer, Butcher dangles against a brick wall as the film plays tricks with frames and angles. She seems to cartwheel weightlessly, then descends upside-down, like Spider-Man.
Reinventing the Wheel has Butcher and Scott Smith see-sawing on a large strutted metal wheel. They ride it as if cresting waves, or let it flow over them as they wriggle through its struts. Its roll and reaction are like the visible forcefield of their games of give-and-take.
you feel as if you're watching them from above rather than from the side
Swing and suspension are natural qualities of aerial dance, but choreographer Fin Walker brings her punchier style to Why?, the evening’s finale, performed outdoors. As Butcher and Lee Clayden hang against a towering black wall, you feel as if you’re watching them from above rather than from the side. The couple flip over and under, their backwards bounds and pendulum swings spliced with grapples and spoke-limbed spins.
Becky Edmunds’ short, sweet film of rehearsals shows both the effort and the injury involved. Another film, Carl Stevenson’s From Where I’m Standing, completes the programme. Butcher plays an office boss who literally climbs the walls with frustration as John Paul Zaccarini, her hapless underling, is blown about in a snowstorm of paperwork. The film’s comic, theatrical tone may be at odds with the rest of the evening – but then, coming from different angles is what Taking Flight is all about.