I take a breath, and awestruck, I wade through a forest of bodies, some jerking, some calm, but all feeling the pulsing rhythm of the show’s live music. We’re encouraged by the ushers to take our time and return to rooms we pass through to watch how each performance piece evolves over time, yet the show and we are moving at different speeds. The performers move together, reaching terminal velocity, preparing to break through the atmosphere in the final ten minutes for the big, explosive bang of a final dance. And we’re cruising past the art, drifting gently through the rooms, inspecting every crevice for secret little peepholes where we can stargaze into rooms and at performances we might otherwise miss.
I never really feel able to revisit previous rooms, however. Rushes constantly moves forward, and I feel myself following it subconsciously, never headed back to where I’ve already been. I’m sure others might’ve found circular paths, but I wanted to discover what was hid behind every centimetre of Circa. Everyone will experience Rushes differently, though I’m positive most will find swimming through the ‘balloon womb’ memorable. The audience became a performance piece squeezing into the tight passageway, navigating the inflated balloons (and perhaps condoms), and fumbling over one another.
Rushes is beautiful to watch; every single performer is controlled and moves with complete, defined reason. I peer through a hole in the wall to find a woman in a red gown, dancing slowly, staring right back at me, and I feel like we’re the only two people in the world. I shift to another room and watch four bodies contort, twist, and swing around to stay within changing boxes of white light, and I worry for them with what might happen if they fall outside the light. Then, in another exhibit, two performers weave their bodies carefully through panes of vertical light; their shadow-making is mystifying, and they’re simultaneously inspecting how their hands, crowns, arms, and chests change the properties of the light. I’m astounded, absorbed, attracted by how they move, their sheer focus.
Rushes still has me contemplative: I don’t know what I think about it, and that makes me ponder it further. To me, it was a test examining how we rush through our day-to-day, and whether, for just a moment, we’d enable ourselves to stop and sniff the roses. I was inquisitive, curious, and enamoured by the possibilities. To you, it might be entirely different. Rushes is an exceptional exhibition of performance talent that will leave you doting on it for days after.
You can book tickets to Rushes through Circa’s website; the show runs until Monday 5 March.
NB: Note that audience members are not required to take part in the ‘balloon womb’ exhibit; it is a passageway to the side that loops back around to an earlier corridor so audience members that do partake can get back into the rest of the show.