Review P.A.R.A.D.E. National Dance Company Wales & Marc Rees by Helen Joy

 

4 Stars4 / 5

 

Here’s the thing:

I have grown to adore National Dance Company Wales, I covet every ticket to every performance I am able to attend and I cherish each moment spent in the presence of such talent. And the dance pieces played out on the stage of the Wales Millennium Centre for P.A.R.A.D.E .were more of the same – clever, beautiful, witty, fulfilling. The performance pieces in the foyer and outside in the Oval Basin, were enjoyable and the context fun. But the intention of P.A.R.A.D.E. was lost to me. The problem as I see it is mine and it is this: expectation.

The original P.A.R.A.D.E. was designed to bring ballet to the masses, a cultural-political poke in the eye to traditional elitism. An opening of doors to art and theatre and ballet. This wasn’t quite. It was more an homage to Lenin and to the Revolution and to Russia. And glorious in its own right.

Photo credit: Mark Douet

Outside, free to stand about in our anoraks, occasionally prompted to wave our little red flags in response to the forceful rhetoric from our esteemed leader – past entrepreneurs lambasted and then a crie de couer ‘where are the entrepreneurs when we need them now?’ Hiding?! What a spectacular leader in Eiry Thomas we have! I rather think we might follow her forever in enthusiastic formation!

Instead, we rally to the dance and admire the aerial robot – all silver against the blue of dungarees and the red of the lights.

Photo credit: Mark Douet

I wasn’t expecting a socio-political tirade on our current times; nor a dystopian view of our future past; it feels like a rather arty dance-y episode of Dr Who. Not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.

We feel the collective conscience and obligingly shuffle into the WMC where we experience the dystopian theme as it continues with men in dresses and masks dancing with shopping trolleys. ‘The worm that turned’ perhaps. More Factory floor box shifting along the counters. More dungarees. More still silent faces.

Photo credit: Mark Douet

We can only look. Walk around them. There is no engagement, no participation, only watching. And lots of boxes. It’s predictable but not comfortable. It’s creepy. It’s always clever.

Back in our comfort zone, with paid tickets we settle into our seats and watch some very clever dance. I am back in the land I know of adoration.

‘I thought the dance pieces in the WMC were amazing. I was transfixed’.

Photo credit: Mark Douet

The first piece, P.A.R.A.D.E. huge and dark and taped up, smacks of rebellion on the factory floor, the fear of automation. It has a ‘50s feel. All smokey dark and dismal. Costumes roll from municipal and practical to cardboard rococo and crying eye to breast-plated automaton. Big. Complex. Storytelling dance with breadth and depth and drama. Wonderful. ‘I liked it. I loved it. It fills the stage.’ No mean feat at the WMC.

Photo Credit: Rhys Cozens

The second. Tundra. Different. Dramatic, quietly voluble and perfectly captivating. Very beautiful. Honed, stark, arctic. Very far from barren. It is not enough to see this once. The audience leaves in roaring silence.

Choreographed to perfection, visually dramatic, carefully disturbing; P.A.R.A.D.E. is a show to be proud to have seen. I just wish we had been a little more included.

Check out the atmospheric trailers for PARADE – they are spectacular.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CoIhlBPCOU

https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2017-2018/DonaldGordonTheatre/Parade/

NDCWales

Marc Rees

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Rubicon Dance

Dawns i Bawb

Choreographer Tundra Marcos Morau

Choreographer PARADE Caroline Finn

Graffiti artist Pure Evil

Architectural designer Jenny Hall

Aerialist Kate Lawrence

Composer Jack White

Helen Joy

 

 

 

Share this

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Get The Chance has a firm but friendly comments policy.