BWW Reviews: EMERGE 13: WEEK 1, The Space
Reviewing a dance show when one's expertise in the area is negligible at best is a slightly daunting prospect and so, a disclaimer: this review will include no technical terms whatsoever because I don't know any. That said, the opportunity to see four new dance pieces without any prior knowledge was an exciting one.
In the words of Creative Director Adam Towndrow, Emerge 13, the latest project from C-12 Dance Theatre, exists to promote and support emerging choreographers, to give them a voice and to build a community of dancers in a non-competitive environment. It's an admirable event and an appealing proposition, and the four pieces in this opening week give both choreographer and performer an excellent platform to show what they've got to offer.
Opener 'Me, Me, Me.... & You!', choreographed and performed by Charlene Low and Laura Dajao, depicts two dance auditionees in various states of conflict and closeness. It's light, slight and not always completely synchronised, but is never anything less than utterly charming. Dajao, a wheelchair user, moves around the space with grace and joy while Low covers the slightly more acrobatic elements of the piece. With infectious smiles and obvious passion, the two are highly entertaining, and their unique take on the now-iconic 'Single Ladies' choreography is a high point of the evening.
Shaun Dillon's 'RISE', featuring four young dancers undergoing unspoken turmoil along with moments of serenity, is the kind of piece that's not especially easy to get a grip on in a narrative sense, but with performers of this ability is aesthetically striking, and it finishes the first act on a graceful, pensive note.
Child's play is the focus of 'Can I Play', choreographed by Reanne Harris, as three female performers dance with a selection of toys in a series of inventive and delightful ways. Synchronicity here is exceptional, as the three tumble and roll across the floor pushing toddler walkers around the space, and the effect is exhilarating. It's a thoughtful, imaginative and playful piece that in my opinion deserves a wider audience.
As does the final piece of the evening 'WOLFPACK', choreographed by John Ross. Undoubtedly the biggest crowd-pleaser on display here, this story of four guys on a 'lads' night out' is by turns hilarious and harrowing. The four clatter around the stage in guises familiar to anyone who has had to endure such an evening, though the laughs generated by their antics, including an homage to the 'Macarena' routine, soon dissipate when proceedings take a turn for the much more serious in a final sequence that's as beautifully done as it is distressing.
Offering an enormously varied selection, the first week of Emerge 13 is a great pleasure to watch. The talent on display is often remarkable, and it comes heartily recommended; no expertise required.
Emerge 13 continues at The Space until November 16th.