Birmingham-based blogger Rico Johnston reviewed Joli Vyann’s, Imbalance on Wednesday 26 April, 8pm.

Imbalance is a gem of contemporary dance by the company Joli Vyann that highlights the irrational plight of human connection in a world that is driven and reliant on technology.

Whilst it starts slow and powerful, it was easy to be drawn in my by the fluidity of the movements of both Maélie Palomo, who replaced Olivia Quayle, and Jan Patzke, a mere four minutes in.

The thing that was the most astonishing was the speed and precision of the death-defying lifts hand to hand and acrobatics that had me clung to the edge of my seat breathing rapidly, and I found myself mesmerised by Patzke’s form, and he portrayed the distracted lover of Palomo.

The pairing was odd, but that became forgettable when the piece built, tension mounting and accompanied by extremely insightful sound design that perfectly echoed the detached movements symbolising the lack of connection.

While Patzke was the picture of masculinity, I felt like that distracted from the strength of Palomo this was evident after the first plausible connection between the two.

What I really enjoyed was the realistic and relatable pockets of dialogue that sprung from the stage, keeping the piece fresh during the less active moments. Also Palomo’s ability to synchronise herself completely with Patzke despite having to work harder to seem effortless while showing the audience true strength.

This marriage of circus and dance wasn’t seamless but it worked astonishingly well, especially in, what I consider, to be the climax of the piece. That’s when the previous twenty-five minutes came together and I really understood the message of this unanswered question of Imbalance.

For me, the piece lasts around fifteen minutes too long, but perfectly portrayed the connection, frustration, and anger of a relationship in the 21st century, and stunned me time-after-time, with the circus aspect of the pieces and the looped movements of both Patzke and Palomo when their characters found synchronicity.

I look forward to seeing more from this company, and I’m excited to see the marriage of circus and movement come together again to tell a story that needs to be told. This beautifully executed piece definitely got me excited about the future of European contemporary dance and also made me consider turning my phone off when I’m with my loved ones more often.

ABOUT RICO / Coming from a performance art background, Rico has written for organisations such as Birmingham Wire and Polaroids and Polar Bears and worked on projects with The Sun newspaper and The Media Trust’s Freeview channel ‘Community Channel’ which he marries with his love for film whilst working at Flatpack Film Festival. He graduated from University of the Arts London, Studying Production for Live Events and Television.