Kin, a triple bill of two new works and one revival performed by National Dance Company Wales at Dance City, Newcastle is deceptively simple and unspectacular but leaves a warm and deeply satisfying feeling. Performed by a fine tuned and yet relaxed ensemble this is beautiful dance with an underlying humanity.
National Dance Company Wales, based in the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff is a contemporary dance company in existence since 1983, first as Diversions and, since 2009 as the National Dance Company of Wales. Kin is the latest touring triple bill with works by the current Artistic Director Fearghus O’ Conchuir, Dussledorf based English choreographer Alexandra Waierstall and the late Nigel Charnock, co funder of internationally acclaimed DV8.
Rygbi, (Rugby in Welsh) the opening work is by Fearghus O Conchuir and is inspired by the, as the title suggests, game of rugby and is a fun, beautifully researched and choreographed piece. That choreographic detail even includes the slightly tight concentrated expressions of the players/dancers, who occasionally break out in victorious smiles. Physically both fluid and dynamic, with rhythmic, fast paced changes of direction and slow motion moments it’s an easily understood piece full of quirks and camaraderie.
Next up 2067 Time and Time and Time is a much more meditative piece with structured improvisational movement, which though sensitively performed felt diffuse and sometimes obscure. Clearly created with great care and skill I was left wondering what the choreographer really intended even down to the compositional devices and use of props .
Lunatic by the late, great Nigel Charnock known for his intense theatricality both as performer and choreographer and important among LGBTQ artists, who tested new ways of expressing their sexuality and their social situation was created in 2009. It is expertly restaged by Jo Fong and feels uncanny in its’ relevance to today, from the period style of the 1950s sequences through drag to joyously mad ballet movement. A mix of dance and gesture filled with despair, madness and joy using voice, props and costume changes to create a fantastic piece of choreography which is highly relevant to today. It is also a test for the six dancers who perform it with panache and humour.
“It is a kind of madness. All my work – to the public – doesn’t look chaotic, but mad. A little bit lunatic. People say, ‘I didn’t know what was going to happen next, what you were going to do next’.” Nigel Charnock interviewed by Emily Lambert, Wales Online 2009
The evening has a clear overarching theme of the group, how important we all are and how connected we are; there’s a sense of humanity and kindness. Superbly curated by Fearghus O’Conchuir it is contemporary dance that seeks to reach out without losing any integrity and it does.
Choreographer Fearghus O’Conchuir
Composer Tic Ashfield
Costume Design Carl Davies
Lighting Design Sinead Wallace
2067: Time and Time and Time
Choreographer Alexandra Waierstall
Costume Concept and Set Design Alexandra Waierstall
Lighting Design Caty Olive
Costume Design Brighde Penn
Choreographer Nigel Charnock
Costume Design Shanti Freed
Costume Make Brighde Penn
Lighting Design Jackie Shemesh
Costume Design Consultant Joseff Fletcher
Restaging & Rehearsal Director Jo Fong. With thanks to the Nigel Charnock Estate