REVIEW: Sketch Dance Company To Have And To Hold

Brian Butler October 18, 2020

Jasmine Andrews has created a fascinating and densely packed dance piece for 3 female performers that is often disconcerting.

Set largely in a very ordinary-looking suburban house, with forays to the garden, a park and even a London bus shelter, it is billed as a dance film about nurturing, about growing up and making choices.

There is no storyline as such but occasionally a voice-over says things like: ‘ I am who I am; and I will not be changed.” It asks us as viewers to ponder who we are, where and why we do the things we do as we grow up.

The three principals- Claire Hackston, Francesca Lista and Ema Thomas have at times balletic and at other times robotic movements, often tangling their legs and arms with one another. It’s a very stripped-back interpretation in kitchen, living room and bedroom all largely decorated and furnished in white.

Filmed and edited by Adam Biko for the Sketch Dance Company, the work in its original format was performed live at London’s The Place earlier this year. This filmed version was made for Brighton Fringe.

The most disconcerting element of this beautifully filmed piece is the background and surroundings which couldn’t be more ordinary and yet which seem to give a neutrality to the flowing movements of each performer. Separately they are mesmerising to watch and when dancing in unison, they fill the screen with their never-ending movement, mirrored by music which is often on a very short repeating loop.

Though I guess it’s useful to have been told what the theme of the piece is, its interest for me was in the grace and deep feelings the dancers portray – even when moving on grass or on and off a sofa.

It’s intriguing and enigmatic and you can catch it throughout October for  a small charge- go to