Right, this is a hard one; I have thought long and hard about this review.
My conclusion is this: I am not here to comment on any of the pieces critically, I am here to congratulate and celebrate everyone involved in creating beautiful dance through giving all these extraordinary young people the chance to dance.
Every dance has a message for us and in essence I think it is this:
“Listen to us, we may be young and we may seem to have so little experience next to you, the big grown-up, but we have a voice and we feel and we want you to hear us and respond. Our need to express ourselves and to be understood is as great as yours and we will be heard, we will use clothes and colour and tears and anger; we will use movement and action; we will use dance.”
Each piece is so different, working so carefully with the ages of the dancers, their abilities and their stories. Some dancers have that special something – you can already see it, something in the way they look straight at you, something in the way they love the connection between their bodies and their minds, something just special. Every dancer in front of us performs as a professional – confident, charming, athletic and poised. Confident enough to use humour and we in the audience are impressed and laugh with them.
They dance of war and remembrance, of love and loss, of action and inaction, of communication and self.
I have no warm personal association with this – I was once in the wrong queue at junior school and accidentally arrived in the ballet class, surrounded by pink leotards and birds in cages. I was about 6. I can still feel the horror of it.
Yet, here I am wishing and wishing I had had the gumption these young people have and to have stayed in that class; wishing I had that gumption now too. What amazing young people they are, what remarkable people they will remain and in part because of this opportunity they have the gumption to take, to value and to work at – for none of this comes easy, I am sure.
I am sitting next to Luke, a dance teacher, and we discuss what makes the difference between the Associates’ piece and everyone else’s. There is something about the last piece which is more polished than the others, slicker somehow. Time is partly the answer – these dancers have been selected and given the time to train in a way the others do not have.
This suggests to me that it is time that we all must have to perfect what we do – all these young dancers deserve our support to give them the opportunities and the time they need to grow into the adults who will make our world more than just a little better.
To support ETC, Fantasy Feet, Rubicon and the NDCW, please see the links below.
Every young person should have the chance to dance, please help them to get that chance.
Helen Joy for Get the Chance, 3rd Act Critics.
Curator: Caroline Finn, NDCW Artistic Director
ETC Youth Dance
Fantasy Feet (2 x pieces within their 12 minute slot)
Rubicon (Urban Flagship Group)
Joon Youth Dance Company
National Dance Company Wales Associates
Seen: 26 February, 2017
Where: Dance House, WMC, Cardiff
Tickets: £10 | Concessions £7
Find Youth Dance at:
Fantasy Feet, Merthyr Tydfil
Rubicon Dance, Adamsdown, Cardiff
Joon Dance, Solva, Pembrokeshire
ETC Youth Dance
NDCWales, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
To support National Dance Company Wales, please consider their new Lift Lifft scheme at http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/about/support-us/individual-giving/