Review ONE ANOTHER/LAW YN LLAW – NDCWales, Three dances to reconnect us/tri dawns i’n hailgysylltu by Gwyneth Stroud

26 April 2022

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

As Theatres look to reconnect with audiences again, National Dance Company Wales/Cwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru is back with an uplifting, energising and thought-provoking programme designed to awaken our senses and fire our imaginations.

First up is Wild Thoughts by Andra Costanzo Martini, an entertaining piece designed to focus our attention on various parts of the body.  The first few dancers open with identical moves, centred upon one downturned and one upturned hand (The Welsh title of this collection of works, Law yn Llaw, translates as Hand in Hand).  Dancers appear to be grouped into balletic, athletic and playful typecasts.  But soon the individuality dissipates, the music builds and there is a glorious band of dancers showcasing their bodily strength as one collective unit.  The second half of the work is designed to provoke and amuse, with intense focus on each body part (together with sound effects – how did that achieve that rumbling stomach?). 

The second piece is Codi (translates as Rising) by Anthony Matsena. The work centres around a fictional Welsh coalpit, skilfully lit with helmet lamps and infra-red lighting. Fiery orange overalls strengthen the feelings of heat and oppression.  The piece feels well researched, illustrating the toil, disputes, fear, camaraderie and tragedy associated with the industry throughout Welsh history.  The final section has the dancers performing as one, highlighting strength in unity and ending the piece with a sense of positivity and optimism. 

The final piece is Ludo by Caroline Finn.  It’s well documented that adults forget how to play, and that we would all benefit from harnessing the inner child in us.  Here’s our opportunity.  We sat back and revelled in the silliness of game-playing, teasing, dressing up, spinning around on benches with castors (which looked great fun).  In fact there’s so much going on at once that it’s difficult to know where to look.  Clothing is used to great effect in this piece, bright, stretchy one-pieces pulled in all directions and worn in crazy ways.  A nod to whoever selected the music:  a fantastic choice which complemented each section perfectly.  I particularly enjoyed the build-up of Schubert’s Piano Trio No 2 second movement, Andante.  A fabulously playful piece and just right to end this trio of works on a happy and uplifting note.

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