Review Rygbi, Dance City, NDCWales by Valerie Speed.

I had the pleasure of seeing KiN, performed by visiting dance company, National Dance Company Wales at Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne, a couple of weeks ago. I really do love dance, and yet I don’t get many opportunities to see a performance. What I have seen has usually been reworked productions of well-known pieces. Think Swan Lake.

I was looking forward to seeing the work of a company that describes itself as a company which creates dance With and for all kinds of people in all kinds of places’. A young, vibrant repertory company, whose aim is to innovate, make accessible and include.

The current production on tour is KiN. This brings together three very different dance performances, Rygbi:Yma/Here, 2067:Timeand Time and Time and Lunatic.

Here I offer you a review of Rygbi.

If a dance company is going to aim to be a company of the community then it makes sense it would devise a performance conjuring up Wales’ national sport. Choreographed by Fearghus O Conchuir along with the performers, music composed by Tic Ashfield, the intention of Rygbi, as we are told, is to express and celebrate the sense of ‘pride and passion’, ‘commitment and camaraderie’. This piece came together with the help of rugby players and fans.

The piece begins with an explosion of energy. From the very beginning there is a felt tension, an anticipation for the match ahead. As an audience we can’t help but be lifted by the fast-paced athleticism of the dancers moving together, representing the way in which a team does work in unison. Just as with a real rugby match though, the energy levels wax and wane, the action slows down or speeds up. There are times for composure and times for full on attack. The performance captures every nerve tingling moment.  Every high, every disappointment, every resurgence is danced with true conviction.

I enjoy watching rugby, which is probably why I was so interested in seeing this piece. Watching this performance feels like I am experiencing a match in its entirety. A first kick, a scrum, a conversion. The desperation to succeed is etched on each and every face of the dancers. All play their part extremely well, connecting as they do to the audience and taking it on the journey of one game.

The music is never intrusive but serves to enhance the constant roller-coaster.

I can’t fault the performance. I can only sit back in awe at how this is simultaneously experienced as dance, theatre and sport. The choreography, as well devised as it is, works that magic.

I find myself thinking that what I am seeing cannot be defined, it crosses boundaries and has a way of connecting with anyone.

National Dance Company Wales say they want to make ‘dance for all kinds of people’ and with this they delivered.

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