The evening’s standout work was Jo Meredith’s Chimera. Meredith is a working dancer whose next engagement is in Will Tuckett’s The Wind in the Willows, which transfers to the West End in December. But she is also, as her 2009 piece Vulnerasti demonstrated, a choreographer of exceptional subtlety and promise. Chimera’s subject is illusion. A conjuror appears and executes a sleight-of-hand sequence. A spoken text by Sean Damian Bruno, meanwhile, muses on the subject of misdirection. What’s essential, we’re told, is to persuade your audience that “the things you show are like the things they have. That your stuff, like theirs, is straight off the shelf.”
Two couples begin to dance to Janácek’s wistful Pohadka (Fairy Story), itself a tale of magic, and we sense that behind the fluent physical exchanges, and the romantic dialogue between piano and cello, all is not well. Sooner or later, the text warns, people will realise that “you are not like them, and the things you have are peculiar”. Meredith plaits dance, music and text together with taut economy of means, crafting a mood of refined sadness. Lovers, like audiences, can be misdirected, she tells us. So “that thing they thought they were beginning to see, that strange posture or shadow”, is revealed as just a trick of the light. Chimera is a clever, unsettling piece whose dark nuances linger. We will be hearing more of Jo Meredith.
The Observer, November 2013
Exploring the themes of illusion and delusion, ʻChimeraʼ features four dancers and live spoken word, with accompaniment from a beautiful cello and piano classical composition.The movement is clean and fluid and – while the script describes uncertainty and implausibility – the partnering and storytelling communicates conviction and intent.
ʻChimeraʼ possesses a delightful lyrical quality, unsurprising as Jo is a rising contemporary ballet choreographer (notably having created movement for the National Youth Balletʼs 2010 production of ʻThe Rainbow Bearʼ). This whimsical piece, bathed in warm lighting, leaves the audience wondering whether what was just witnessed really did occur at all.
Dance Critic – Milton Keynes Citizen, November 2013