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.
First off the starting blocks was Scottish Ballet’s Run For It, choreographed by contemporary-dance creator Martin Lawrance. This fully fuelled race took place around a beautiful sculptural piece by Turner prize winner Martin Boyce, reminiscent of both Grecian pillars and a modern stadium roof it successfully linked the old tradition of the Olympics and the modern athleticism of the games. Inspired by the strength of the athletes and set to John Adams’ Son of Chamber Symphony, this piece was definitely a showcase of talent and skill. A pageant of undeniably beautiful strength unfortunately there seemed to be no emotion beneath this display of competence and we were left waiting for a moment of pure exhilaration.
At the risk of sounding biased towards the home team, National Dance Company Wales delivered what was undoubtedly the most crowd pleasing performance of the night. The tongue in cheek Dream took a nostalgic look at the games, opening at a 1950’s sports day complete with egg and spoon and sack races. Soon this family fun transformed into a slightly more serious display of dancing talent set humorously to Ravel’s Bolero. Comedy popped up throughout as dancers dived on the stage to begin their attempt at synchronised swimming and men faced each other in boxing and fencing matches. A picturesque reminder of the ordinary people with extraordinary talents that compete for their country.
The gold medal winners of the night for me were English National Ballet. Itzik Galili lived up to his reputation as a choreographer who delivers passionate and forceful dance. This sensational piece And The Earth Shall Bear Again was set to a mash up of John Cage’s complicated and diverse pieces for prepared piano. Abstract and sometimes challenging, the beauty came from unexpected patterns in the choreography and music colliding and rebounding from one another. Galili’s inspired lighting added another dimension to this already dynamic display of how we learn and grow. Mind-blowing is the only word applicable to this almost overwhelming piece.
These three completely different pieces came together in a truly Olympic display of British talent. Inspiring and entertaining, a great triple-bill for dancer lovers and those new to the art alike.