FRINGE: Terminal by Jamila Johnson-Small

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I had not expected to find myself watching a live recreation of Blade Runner. But I was delighted to do so.

In truth I was sat in the dark, in Central Saint Martins Studio Theatre, watching Terminal, the final performance from the opening day of BELLYFLOP FRINGE. The work is by Jamila Johnson-Small in the guise of immigrants and animals, and danced by Mira Kautto. Apparently part of a series of short dances, this fifteen minute piece felt solid and satisfying by itself. The blurb describes “lazy dances, cheap dances, indulgent dances”, but there doesn’t seem to be room for the lazy, cheap or indulgent.

I hope I will be forgiven for my Blade Runner comparison, but from the moment the Daryl Hannah-esque creature that is Kautto appears in the space I feel transported. Her movement is deliberately robotic, lucidly powerful. She makes a figure both threatening and alluring, and Johnson-Small, who claims to be wanting to re-consider what virtuosity might look like, has created an exciting framework for this display. At times the strength seems desperate, others, contained, always present.

Why do I keep returning to Blade Runner? It must be something to do with the thick band of black running across Kautto’s eyes. Maybe it’s the little black dress revealing lean thighs and athlete’s back. Or the blackness of the space, crossed by stark beams of light. It can’t be the colourful balloons heaped in the corners… It’s at this stage I ask myself, if not a dystopian future, if Harrison Ford isn’t about to turn up, then what? Is this a party?

Kitty Fedorec is a performer and creator, with a strong interest in the relationship between dance, place and the mind; working with a-typical people; and facilitating the development for young disabled and non-disabled dancers.


Performer: Mira Kautto
Choreography: Jamila Johnson-Small
Music: Fever Ray – Stranger Than Kindness, Ultraviolence – Hardcore Motherfucker