Category Archives: Dance

Review Motionhouse Broken – Seismic Performance in a Shifting World by Hannah Goslin

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Motionhouse

Broken – Seismic Performance in a Shifting World

Hannah Goslin

21/05/2014

Broken – When we think of the word broken, we can relate it to many different visions. Broken objects, breaks in aspect of nature, heart break, broken parts of our individual World, things that break these elements and breakages from our own impact.

Motionhouse’s Broken addresses these aspects including many many more. We begin with a pre-human World and almost the beginning of what we know. We travel through time to Earthly breakages as the surface of the World evolves; the impact of humanity discovering beneath the surface through mining excavations and the dangers of this and the heart break that comes with losing someone. This loss turns into hope, in the growth of trees and plants on the surface, penetrating the beneath and then the above atmosphere, with humanity’s discovery. We see cave man life, our struggle with (as the programme says) ‘our own shadows’, conscience and fears, soon landing us to a present day scenario, nature’s response to our modern ways of life and how easily these are broken.

Confronted with a very simple set consisting of two poles and a large screen, already showing an animation of lights and accompanied by a mixture of technological sounds, it seems that we are going to see a production purely based on the dancers’ moves. Oh how we are wrong. This large screen soon continues its animation to accompany the stage performance, showing animations of earthly images, setting scenes for the performance such as a typical house set up for the final scene and throwing us into the deep end at first with an energetic eclectic mix of nature and almost Sci Fi images and sound. The screen doubles up as a way for performers to come on to and away from the stage; implementing staging through the fabric folds for the performers to swing and propel themselves from, including ledges later on in the house scene that can be manoeuvred to different angles, leaving performers hanging from the edges. The inventive fabric screen become malleable yet extremely strong, allowing the performers to pull against and lean through. Simple, yet incredible, the screen becomes a number of different set pieces in one. The poles also bend at the swings of the performers, yet strong enough to carry all 6 of them at once. All of this accompanied by a mixture of cracking and breaking sounds to compliment the images moving on the screen and music, the performers easily adapt their movement without the need for a beat. Smaller additions such as a mattress and one of the ledges are taken away from the screen to project images onto which brought the focus forward, showing a more interesting range of levels.

The performers costumes stay simple yet effective for the timeline. With the use of mostly earthly colours, they bring a modern take on the naturalistic scenes they portray and such like the mattress and ledge, images are easily projected onto the fabric, encouraging the movement and animation to blend. This simplicity makes other aspects stand out, such as the beginning translucent and strong yet flexible ball that a lit up dressed female dancer is inside, contorting themselves and the ball into shapes which seem embryonic. This ‘leitmotif’ for stage recurs throughout as a symbol of hope – a guardian angel for those lost. This beautiful image not only comes from the costume, but the performers angelic and graceful movement.

With three female and three male performers, it’s difficult to differentiate ability. We are used to seeing dancers especially in areas such as ballet, with a clear male and female role. However, evident by the muscular physiques of these performers, all are capable of each other’s roles, supporting one another physically and emotionally and with obvious indicative feelings of trust to one another with falling, swinging and throwing one another around the stage and set. Motionhouse do this very well, with the ‘guardian angel’ characters mentioned before played by the female performers; their flexible and small frames at this point change the status quo of the company, showing the elegance and maternal figures that these characters are portraying. This works extremely well when the ‘miner’ characters try to escape, one too weak to free themselves, and the pain this angel feels with her struggle to help him to freedom. Admittedly, the use of movement, music, darker lighting and the emotion on these two dancers faces are heartbreaking and brought a tear to my eye. Such a true to life piece cannot always have happy endings. The performers showed their obvious hard work and dedication to the piece through their practice – the aforementioned screen showed animations that at times the performers had to know by heart to play with through the folds, such as cracks that moved with their own hands coming out and changes of horizontal poles in order for movement to cross the screen in mid air.

All these elements produced an awe inspiring piece where, looking around, not a single audience member was not encapsulated by. Moments such as the heart breaking moment of the miner not achieving his freedom produced sniffles of tears from others (not just myself) in the audience, audible in between the breaks of sound; the moment where a ledge is thrown down, almost crushing a performer as he swiftly slides out the way evoked a gasp of fear and all of this resulting in a standing ovation at the end. A piece that leaves you not only looking at reality from a different perspective, but inspiring dancers and performers a like to create such thought provoking theatre.

 

Review Gym Party at Chapter Arts Centre by Hannah Goslin

Gym Party by Made in China at Summerhall, Edinburgh

Gym Party

Made in China

Chapter Arts Centre

16/05/2014

Upon entering the performance space at Chapter the proscenium framing the stage immediately said to  the audience  fun, disco music and 3 names in huge lights gave the feeling that we are indeed in the ‘party’ aspect of the Gym Party. Settling into our seats, the performers entrance with a quirky dance instantly gave the sense of comedy and that we were about to see something fun and exciting.

Three performers with no specific gender at first, looked a little like disco Tim Henman’s dressed in  white tennis gear and bright, colourful and similar wigs these complimented the stage with their simplicity, which was very effective – we were then able to focus on the actions and words.

Joined together in their group, they began to speak to us, introducing themselves, their outlook on us and the world and finishing each other’s sentences with no break or falter. As a performer, the knowledge of trying to perfect this is always difficult and it was extremely admiring to see how well they executed this. Audience interaction was immediate – asking of audience members names and referring to them in their views of the world which gave a sense of individuality for the audience, until the character of Chris established that to him, we would be referred to as ‘the group.’

The contrast of individualism and community was a running theme – the three performers loved one another and were close as a group; they share, converse and communicate as a group but as individuals, they are each better than each other, and the Gym Party competition was how they showed this. The back and forward notion that they spoke in, from community to how good they were as individuals imitated what we think in society – that we want to work as teams, and think that we enter into this in a fair and innocent way but in any situation, we do this to try to show how good we are, to show that we are different to others, that we are an individual. Gym Party’s aim is to highlight this through comedy and games.

Gym Party consists of 3 scenes in repetition – the interludes I spoke of above, the games and the consolations for the losers. With three games, these sequences are repeated approximately three times (for three rounds of games) yet, this is never boring – each time we are given something new, a new game, a new story or new consolation prize. This is always energetic and keeps the audience interested and on their toes.

The games themselves are ridiculous and hilarious. Firstly we see games such as audience throwing skittles at the performers to catch, head stands and marshmallow eating – contrasts of pain, disgust and comedy all in one set to evoke different emotions from the audience. The more the show goes on, the more we see the vulnerability that they are trying to convey about themselves and us; the second and third games utilising this by showing the vulnerability of us as humans and making the audience chose winners by voting on ‘who do you think’ questions, asked by an ominous being through sound and evidently, to the performers obvious surprise, random ideals such as ‘who do you think is the best kisser.’ This impromptu execution of the questions was interesting to see how the performers recovered with reaction and action on the spot, however there were times where they seemed to lose this professionalism and broke the performance barrier, showing their true selves. While at times this was funny to see their humanity, it slightly broke the illusion of performance. The audience choice in the third game of who gets to have the ‘last dance’ as it were also showed this idea of choice, vulnerability and need to be liked.

While these comical moments gave great entertainment to us as audience members, we were soon shocked to see that the consolation prizes were of horrible moments, illustrating our extreme cruelty to ourselves. Ranging from beating themselves, to publicly humiliating one another’s personalities and looks to drowning each other in water. These moments broke the comical value, bringing the audience back to reality and how while we may want to work as a team, as Jess the character says, we will still ‘grind each other to dust.’

We were soon brought back to comedy and happiness with the ‘contestants’ elaborate and unprofessional dance routines to cheesy disco music. The use of this, the lights, the use of microphone to thank the audience after a win, Chris’s musical interlude with playing a song ‘Evelong’ by Foo Fighters to highlight a memory, and highlight an audience’s memory gave the feel of a game show, and so the positive and negative contrasts made this game show a cruel conveyance of reality.

Review – Verve – Postgraduate Performance of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance by Hannah Goslin

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Review – Verve – Postgraduate Performance of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Hannah Goslin

3rd May 2014 – National Dance Company Wales, Dance House

Entering the Dance House of the National Dance Company Wales, the audience already was a mix of a variety of demographics and all obviously full of excitement and interest for the show to unfold. For a postgraduate show, the turn out itself was very impressive.

The audience was left to become accustomed  in the dark until a golden haze crept across the stage, cast by the lighting to compliment the figures elegantly entering from the wings. The dancers were kitted out in skin tight golden one pieces, with enlarged bottoms. Straight away, this gave a comical effect to the beginning piece as well as a sense of confusion to the costume choices. ‘Re-wind’ took images from artist Yeruba Yelsdraeb, who drew grotesque images of figures with strange placements of their hands, large bottoms and grotesque faces. The idea behind the golden costumes in contrast to Yelsdraeb’s original Victorian style outfits was to show the contortions of the dancers bodies to compliment the grotesque characters as well as to de-gender-lise them – however, a skin tight suit obviously makes this a little difficult to achieve. I found myself in two minds about this piece; there was an element of melodrama with the facial expressions of the dancers and also an element of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with what I interpreted from the narrative. Personally, I feel that, in dance, expressions are translated into the movements and without prior knowledge to the stimulus, it seemed out of place. However, the dancers strong movements were interesting but at the same time, left me wondering where the more ‘contemporary’ part of the dance element was.

A contrast to the first piece, ‘Mute’ began with very earthly music, costumes and scene. The programme describes this piece as ‘an intricate and haunting landscape in which narrative is torn between logic and lost meaning’ and this was very evident by the initial impressions. Mute showed more of a contemporary aspect to dance, with the usual fluidity that you would expect. However, there were contrasts between this fluidity and sharp movements, both from the dancers as an ensemble and as individuals standing out from the crowd. Dancers Marie-Corrin Chilon and Leanne Horsey, for me, stood out the most in this piece. Marie’s concentration and how she easily threw her elegant frame across the ‘haunting landscape’ was eye catching. Mute ended its stylish and energetic movements with Leanne’s jagged and intriguing movements of which seemed to become faster and faster till she was only a impacting blur.

After a short intermission, a new and completely different production unfolded. ‘You, Me, the Door and the Floor’ began as a comical and interesting work of performance art. An almost game show about love and relationships, the main character went through an experience of a dance blind date, picking planted dancers from the audience and experiencing what a relationship with each character would be like, to find the ‘one.’ A delightful and funny game show host in the form of dancer Sandro Piccirilli (who steals one of the potential loves) executed the comedy effect well and was consistently in character, as were all the dancers. Metaphorical images and use of voice and microphone technology gave this a different feel from a dance piece and was a very interesting concept. A image of a turbulent relationship with animalistic noises and dance-fight images illustrated to the audience something that we all could relate to. The energy that was put into images such as ‘jumping through hoops’ and unadulterated lust and love were consistently high and impressive to how these dancers managed to keep this at top peak while using acting and speech.

Finally, the piece that I felt we had slowly been leading up to, ‘Ocean.’ A reminiscence of ‘Mute’ with its early colours and warmth of the set and costumes was then slightly contrasted by the use of folk music, giving a more modern day twist to a potential mirroring piece. Ocean was astounding. Again, the level of energy seen through all the pieces was at its top and in fact, was above this with the constant fast paced movement. A use of deep and naturalist voices were used, resonating around the room and almost impacted you as an audience member deep down into your chest and stomach each time. Contrasts of the traditional contemporary movement to the naturalistic beating of the dancers feet with an external rhythm to the music was an impressive sight to see. The elements of dance, vocals, rhythm and acting skills show that these graduates are something special. Over all, the climax of the piece with this beat and vocals left you in complete awe and was the crescendo that one would want but not necessarily expect at the end of a contemporary dance piece.

 

Review Ballet Cymru – The Same Flame/Week of Pines, Riverfront Theatre, Newport by 3rd Age Critic Barbara Michaels

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Ballet Cymru has justifiably earned the reputation of going, artistically speaking, where no man – or woman – has previously dared to tread.   This double bill proves the point with a combination of contemporary dance and, in the first half, a score by award-winning Welsh composer Thomas Hewitt Jones which incorporates a major choral input, and in the second half the music of folk song.

The Same Flame

Music: Thomas Hewitt Jones

Choreography: Darius James, Amy Doughty & company dancers

The dancers of Ballet Cymru showcase their expertise in this piece, based on a 35-minute choral work portraying Olympic values, with lyrics by Matt Harvey sung by the equally skilled Vivum Singers. The combination, in itself unusual, becomes even more so when guest artist Suzie Birchwood makes her entrance. Birchwood, who won a full scholarship to train at the London Studio Centre when she was 16, but had her training cut short a year later by the onset of generalized dystonia which has left her requiring wheelchair assistance, would emphatically not want this aspect of her life dwelt upon in relation to her dancing. So I shall only say that the determination required to appear on stage as a dancer in a choreographed piece that includes lifts and pointe work is mind-boggling.   If that in itself is not deserving of an accolade, then the high standard of Birchwood’s work is even more so.

Darius James is a name well-known to those familiar with the work of Ballet Cymru, and here as is the norm with him he makes huge demands of his team of dancers who rise to the challenge with an evident enthusiasm. This is contemporary dance but James is not afraid to acknowledge, and at times make use of, traditional ballet steps and format, and does so with a seamless expertise which adds much to the success of the performance. The choral input by the Vivum Singers is considerable and of a high standard, but there is a caveat here, in that at times attention is inevitably split between the dancers on stage and the singing.

Week of Pines

Music and vocals: Georgia Ruth

Choreography: Darius James, Amy Doughy and dancers of the company.

A complete change of style, mood and scene for this work by Aberystwyth songwriter, singer and harpist Georgia Ruth, whose debut album is danced to here.   Accompanying herself on the harp, and singing in both Welsh and English, backed by guitar, reed organ, bass and drums, Ruth’s is a talent which cannot be denied. Judging by the audience reaction, and conversations in the bar afterwards, many of the audience came specifically for this and, with each of six tracks telling a different story, there was undoubtedly an extra dimension to be gained for those familiar with the album.. However, for those more intent on the structure and performance as applied to the dance interpretation, some explanatory programme notes would have been helpful. Choreographing such a piece is far from easy, and while the dancers did their best to follow the mood swings of the score it did at times take its toll.

Overall, an exciting and innovative double bill danced by a company of nine dancers all of whom display considerable talent. It remains to be seen whether or not Ballet Cymru’s declared objective of bringing in those who are wary of traditional ballet succeeds. Judging by the enthusiastic reception, it may well have done so.

Barbara Michaels

Review Rites of Spring/Petrushka, Sherman Theatre, Cardiff by Third Age Critic Barbara Michaels

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RITES OF SPRING/PETRUSHKA at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Director & Choreography: Michael Keegan-Dolan

Music: Igor Stravinsky

Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre

Reviewer: Barbara Michaels

Ratings: [3.5]

With a stark monochrome setting and virtually no scenery, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre’s double bill, set to the powerful music of Igor Stravinsky, is contemporary dance with a vengeance. There is little or no acknowlegement paid to earlier balletic arrangements in the choreography. That is, perhaps, how it should be. What is lacking, however, in Michael Keegan- Dolan’s version, is clarity of context and relevance to the music. Despite the programme notes, some members of the audience were left floundering.

That is not to say, however, that these two pieces of dance theatre do not have merit. In Rites of Spring, Stravinsky’s vision of a solemn pagan rite with sacrifices to the god of spring, Keegan-Dolan uses the rhythmic elements of the music as a backdrop to violent scenes portraying pagan fertility rites ending in human sacrifice. At one point everyone strips – male dancers down to the buff while female members of the cast are permitted to retain bra and pants. Floral dresses are put on – and taken off again. A man gets murdered (why? Because he’s old, of course.}

Some spectacular dancing here, hard, exciting and physically testing, from both male and female members of the 14-strong International cast. While it is difficult to single out individuals, as the full cast are used throughout, mention must be made of one or two: Louise Mochia manages to remain graceful at all times, with lissom movements even when the pace is frenetic, while Anna Kaszuba displays amazing energy, coping with the considerable effort and expertise that the programme demands,

On the male side, there are striking elements, such as the wide-legged jumps done in unison while balancing cardboard boxes, cartwheels, somersaults, rhythmic stamping et al – some sequences are threatening and violent. This is not for the squeamish.

   Petrushka, in the second half provides some light relief after the difficult first half.   Petrushka was composed in 1911, and balletomanes will be familiar with the traditional ballet, which tells of a traditional Russian puppet, Petrushka, made of straw and sawdust, who comes to life. Again, Keegan-Dolan’s take brooks no quarter, paying no homage to the original apart from covering the dancers’ faces in dense white make- up like puppets. The cast displays wonderful fluidity of movement in this half, which is altogether more accessible, although there are still some shocks.

Despite the power of the dance, the strength and sheer volume of Stravinsky’s score tends at times to overwhelm the dancers, which is perhaps not surprising, given that it was conceived originally as a concert work. It was that great dancer Diaghilev who, back in 1910, persuaded him otherwise, resulting in the performances that caused much outraged comment back in the early 20th century. Despite the clever concept which it undoubtedly is, the same might be said of Keegan-Dolan’s version.

Run: April 8 & 9

 

Review of Cinderella, New Theatre, Cardiff by Third Age Critic Barbara Michaels.

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Northern Ballet

Choreography, direction & costume design David Nixon OBE

Music Philip Feeney

Review by Third Age Critic Barbara Michaels.

Golden epaulettes, crystal chandeliers and Cossacks – all the flavours of Imperialist Russia bring glitter and glamour to David Nixon’s take on this new balletic version of the rags-to-riches fairytale by the brothers Grimm. While it retains the key features – put-upon-Cinderella, her cruel stepmother, heartless stepsisters, handsome Prince and, of course, the glass slipper – it probes deep into the back story and so becomes a much darker concept altogether.

For a start, there is the music. Philip Keeney, who composed the music for Christopher Gable’s version of the story back in 1993, has managed to pull a completely different and much more strident score out of the hat, echoing the disturbing elements – child abuse et al – underlying the story. Nixon gives us two Cinderella’s – the very young girl whose father, who dies tragically at her birthday picnic, is her idol – and the young woman who captures the heart of a Prince.

As young Cinderella, Michela Paolacci is delightfully ingénue, bringing delicacy and a touching vulnerability to the role,, but it is Lucia Solari, dancing Cinderella grown to womanhood, whose grace and fragility, coupled with an expertise in a role which requires her to dance en pointe for much of the time, who deserves a major accolade for the exquisite precision of her dancing. Nixon’s choreography ups the ante for the male dancers, giving Javier Torres, as the Prince who captures Cinderella’s heart, a chance to show his strength as a soloist. However, it is in the final pas de deux with Solari that he comes into his own.

Nixon has made some changes to the concept of the wicked stepmother, first seen here. as an adoring wife who, distraught with grief at the death of her husband for which she blames Cinderella for his demise, turns against her. Some wonderful choreography with its own poignancy and heartbreak behind the cruel façade is danced with understanding by Jessica Morgan, who shows a command of the stage that bodes well for her future. And what of the Fairy Godmother?

You may well ask. Nixon has replaced her with a male Magician, danced here by Tobias Batley (who doubles this with the role of Cinderella’s father), popping up when needed and throwing the occasional magic trick or firework to keep us on our toes, at times hovering in the background, in a manner which brings to mind the more sinister Baron Rothbart brooding over Swan Lake, in the ballet of that name. Although the Magician is, of course, a benign figure, the reference, although oblique, is there. It is referenced again in what is, perhaps, the most memorable scene in this innovative production – that of skaters gliding over an icy glistening lake, danced as always to a high standard by the Northern Ballet Company.

 

Reviews Flights of Fancy, Park and Dare Theatre by Bridgend Youth Dance Young Critics.

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Earlier this year members of Bridgend Youth Dance whom are interested in the field of dance criticism went to see and review Flights of Fancy at the Park and Dare theatre, Treorchy, please find their reviews below.

Review Flights Of Fancy by Anna Whistance, Bridgend Youth Dance Young Critic

Aged 13

 I attended the Flights Of Fancy production with fellow members of Bridgend Youth Dance at the Park and Dare Theatre,RCT. The first thing I would like to say is I thought the costumes were fantastic they really gave the effect of a representation of Wales on stage with the bold use of red. I was also struck by the energy of all of the dancers and singers on stage, they were great.

The Flights Of Fancy production used the idea of music and dance throughout the years showing milestones in the areas history this was great and the wonderful use of the building really made the production come alive.

The lighting created some amazing effects on the scenes shown on stage and I loved the glow in the dark costumes!

The only thing I think that could improve the production was some of the timings for the dancers.

Overall I thought the show was very well put together, the energy on stage was electric with giant smiles from the audience !

I would like to say well done to everyone involved in the production and as a young dancer I personally loved Flights of Fancy.

Review Flights Of Fancy by Bronty Freeman, Bridgend Youth Dance Young Critic

Aged 13

 Flights of Fancy is a production, which was performed at the Park and Dare Theatre in Treorchy, RCT. The show consists of a variety of singers and dancers, varying in age groups, as they tell the story of the theatre throughout the years.

They production made amazing use of the venue, as the audience were seated on the stage and the performers stage was the theatre seating areas. The costumes were very creative, as was the choreography and the performers made good use of the props.

There was a range of old and modern music and the orchestra played very well. The dancers were very energetic and they were all smiling and looked like they were having a good time, which made you feel happy. The singers ‘The Siren Sisters’ hit every note perfectly, they were very talented, and sung with enthusiasm.

There was a good use of lighting as they had a section performed with neon lights (glow in the dark). It was very creative how they had got dancers to freeze in a still image as you walked through the corridors of theatre on your way in to be seated.

Overall, I think that the show was fantastic and a great display of talent from this area.

Review by Hannah Jenkins Bridgend Youth Dance Young Critic, Age 13

 Hi the production show I am reviewing is called Flights of Fancy and was performed at the Park and Dare Theatre, RCT. This show was very creative throughout. I thought there were great directing skills used in this show as it flowed easily from song to song and scene to scene.

First of all I would like to begin with the running time taken to perform the whole production, every single minute was used to illustrate moments and events of the theatres history. I also thought the choreographers did excellent jobs making the dances a perfect reflection of the history of the theatre, as before the show I didn’t actually know any of the history while after the show I knew a lot more. Another thing I liked was the choreographer’s work and how they managed to make still images and illustrations on the way to the seating area of the show, it was a clever and creative idea.

I think the age group differences were great as each performer (including dancers and singers) performed their role with a beam on their face and great use of energy. I think the use of the stage was amazing as every inch I’m sure was used to perform a dance or act! All the costumes were well thought out, made and designed each outfit fitted the story of each scene!

I particularly liked how the lighting crew and costume team put their heads together to make a neon scene, which represented the Doctor Who filming in the theatre! I think I should give credits to the singers The Siren Sisters as they had to remember quite a few songs but they each sang their hearts out!

I think this show is suitable for all ages! It’s well worth seeing the enthusiasm and smiles of all those involved in the production. I would like to thank them for putting on such a great worthwhile show! If the team involved wanted a target for future performances it would be to keep up the energetic and creative work!

YC Review, Hide by Deborah Light

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Photo credit John Collingswood

On the 22nd of February I was fortunate enough to attend Deborah Light’s production of Hide at the renowned Chapter Arts Centre based in Canton, Cardiff

Upon my reflection of Hide I have come to the realisation that Deborah Light has managed to create such a beautiful and effective performance piece that has left a lasting impression on every viewer. By using only a few lights, minimal props and clothing, Hide forces the audience to pay more attention to the exceptionally choreographed tango, the breath taking solo pieces and experience the passionate message delivered by each dancer.

Hide manages to cleverly play with the audience emotions, seeing a naked Jo Fong laughing one moment and bordering the tears next instantly creates a confliction of feelings within us, I instantly felt a sense of distress, as though I should be rushing forward to offer my jacket to help hide her modesty. Watching the high intensity, fast paced and articulate sequence delivered by Rosalind Haf Brooks left me wonderfully exhausted and in awe of how amazing the human body can be moulded into creating such a stunning art form. And finally Eddie Ladd’s simple choice of words managed to force the viewer to take a look and question themselves and society’s judgement on others.

It constantly left me waiting with baited breath, unaware and excited by what was to follow. I found the piece a journey of self-discovery having never experienced this type of performance art before. It opened my eyes to how movement, sound and spoken text could mould together to create such a valuable eye opening experience that I would definitely want to encounter again. Deborah Light has created something raw, stripped back and bare and in that sense we cannot hide from the moral story that is being played out in front of us. Do we force people to hide? Or are we hiding ourselves?

Sarah Finch

YC Review Hide Chelsey Gillard

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HIDE

Created by Deborah Light , Chapter Arts Centre, Studio , February 23, 2013

When confronted by a naked, giggling woman as you walk into the theatre you know the show you are about to see is either going to be attention-seeking or daring. Deborah Light’s innovative first full length piece of course fell into the latter category – original and thought provoking.With a cast of world-renowned female performers HIDE showed how much is possible in a stripped back space. With just their bodies and a few mobile studio lights these women explored the boundaries between our public and private lives – as the programme asks, ‘are they showing themselves? Or is this a show?’

Wonderfully timid Jo Fong physicalised the constant battle between a performer and their onstage psyche, telling us ‘this is a show’ whilst performing conflicted choreography that showed a performers struggle with nerves more than words could ever convey.

Rosalind Haf Brooks on the other hand strived to make a connection with her fellow performers, even resorting to sniffing their clothes just to make contact. By turns equally humorous and touching in her pursuit for human interaction.

Most of the text based content came from the beautifully androgynous Eddie Ladd who chronicled the stages of her life by describing what length her hair was at any given time. She revealed that she has not always been Eddie, but as a performer she needed to change her name to avoid having the same name as another.

Each of the women contributed something new to the mix, each dancing in their own unique way and each bringing a different set of emotions to the performance. The fractured nature of the piece allowed them to disappear and reappear, transform and dissolve exploring the multiple layers of human nature.

The lines between performance and life were completely blurred – what was a performance and what was truth didn’t seem to matter as the piece delved further into what’s underneath the surface of our external facades.
Exciting and engaging, this is the kind of work that will encourage discussion and linger in your mind long after the event.

Chelsey is a member of the Young Critics Scheme for further information contact
guy.odonnell@bridgend.gov.uk

Dance GB – Young Critics Review

Dance GB
Wales Millennium Centre, 28th – 30th June.Funny. Fluid. Agitating. Frustrating. Relaxing. Mesmerising. Stunning.

The diversity of each performance from Dance GB made for an exciting and dynamic experience that no list of adjectives could adequately describe.

Scottish Ballet’s Run For It was full of peaks and troughs, working through John Adams’ Son of Chamber Symphony which both juxtaposed and complemented the beauty of the dance. Dressed in Scottish blue lycra, beside and beneath a seemingly Athens inspired installation from Martin Boyce, Martin Lawrence’s choreography conveyed the strength and agility of Olympic athletes whilst still feeling completely light and fluid. Every movement was beautiful and strong, showing off the muscle and power of the dancers.

National Dance Company Wales’s Dream, choreographed by Christopher Bruce was a funny, quirky and reflective performance, capturing the essence of sport for the layman. The 50s costumes and use of Ravel’s Bolero evoked a warm nostalgia adding to the emotions tugged out through the characters and their journey through this narrative piece. By far the most character driven, Dream is the perfect crossover performance for potential dance audiences. Like a favourite song, I could watch it over and over.

English National Ballet’s And the Earth Shall Bear Again was a dark, dramatic dance that felt almost medieval, each dancer in ruffle armed slips moving against the harsh and industrial sounds of John Cage’s music. Itzik Galili’s choreography was stunning, with patterns of dancers creating multiple mirror image effects, or dancing alone, finding their feet – their own movements, watched or ‘caught in the act’ by others. Again strength and power heralded, along with trial and error; learning from the movements of others to create new ones. However, the whole performance felt drowned out by the volume of Cage’s piece which jarred and, with no let up, was a little much for my ears.

Dance GB is a fantastic opportunity to see what’s out there Dance wise in the UK. Discard your expectations and go with an open mind. It will be an evening well spent.