How a Duet Dance Piece Captures the Pandemic Experience

Evgeniia Erofeeva is a renowned choreographer who blends classical ballet, contemporary dance, and physical theatre in her captivating performances. Her works address themes such as identity, relationships, and emotions, in relation to the social and cultural challenges of our time.

One of her most celebrated works is The Other Side, a duet dance piece that she co-created and co-performed with her partner, Riccardo Fruttaldo. The piece explores the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s well-being and mental health. It uses movement, music, and spoken word to depict the isolation, anxiety, and hope that many people felt during the lockdowns and social distancing rules.

The Separation and the Longing

The piece begins with Erofeeva and Fruttaldo standing on opposite ends of the stage, divided by a thin white line. This line represents the boundary between their personal spaces. They move in harmony, but without contact, as they recite a poem that reveals their desire for closeness and intimacy. They then transition into a series of dynamic and fluid movements that contrast with the stiff and static line. They jump, spin, roll, and slide across the stage, sometimes nearing the line, but never crossing it. They use gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact to convey their feelings and wishes, creating a sense of suspense and expectation.

The Despair and the Hope

The mood of the piece then shifts from upbeat and rhythmic to slow and melancholic, as the music changes accordingly. Erofeeva and Fruttaldo move away from the line and curl up on the ground, as if in agony or fatigue. They then gradually rise and approach each other, extending their hands, but still not touching. They repeat the poem, but this time with a different tone and meaning. They voice their anger, frustration, and fear, as well as their courage, resilience, and hope. They then move nearer and nearer, until they finally touch and hug, crossing the line that separated them. They end the piece with a gentle and joyful kiss, as the lights dim and the music stops.

The Expression and the Impact

The piece is a powerful and moving portrayal of the human situation during the pandemic, and a tribute to the strength and beauty of love and art. Erofeeva and Fruttaldo show remarkable chemistry and skill, as they perform complex and demanding movements with elegance and accuracy. They also show great sensitivity and awareness, as they express a range of emotions and subtleties with their bodies and voices. The piece is a perfect example of Erofeeva’s choreographic vision and talent, as she creates a compelling and coherent story that engages and touches the audience.

Erofeeva has received many positive reviews and awards for her work, including the Outstanding Achievement in Dance at the UK in 2023. She has also been invited to perform and teach at various festivals and venues around the world, such as the Dance Umbrella Festival in Taiwan and the Dance Festival in South Korea. She is currently working on a new duet dance piece, titled The Edge, which will premiere in London in 2024.

Erofeeva is one of the most promising and exciting choreographers of contemporary dance today, and a rising star in the global dance scene. Her work is a reflection of her personal and artistic journey, as well as a response to the social and cultural issues of our time.