Friday 19th October
Trinity Laban commissions renowned choreographers to create original works on the south-east London conservatoire’s next generation of contemporary dancers. Experimental is a fitting descriptor for this annual performance that displays the talents of dancers that is not far from the realm of professional practice.
Tony Thatcher has created a work on this cohort of dancers that fully immerses you in a paradoxical state with ‘Un-Very’ Unsetting Non-space. A sense of disassociation and dislocation floods the room as an overwhelming torch light engulfs the audience and all our attention, this is a distraction to the gripping image of the outline of dancers en-mass. The blinding light paradoxically compliments the dancers who have their backs to the proscenium arch facing audience; this piece is not welcoming and pleasant but inherently engaging. The dancers disassociate themselves from the normative rules that govern the stage, audience and dancer expectation as the unsettling introduction continues as the dancers begin to scuttle backwards almost falling off the stage. Strange interactions and awkward colliding create duets where angular limbs and sickled feet disrupt and de-construct. The abrasive score is a selling point for this piece; reminiscent of scores used by Michael Clark Company. Thatcher adds notes of awkwardness and shock-factor to the piece as white noise erodes against a potent electric guitar arrangement that sends the dancing bodies into a state of loss of control; swinging bodies abruptly meet the floor.
Struan Leslie integrated the concept of memory into his piece, this comes at no surprise as his portfolio has a rich history of movement direction for theatre companies, most noticeably The Royal Shakespeare Company. The structure of the Momento Mori: Maria Barbara Bach and Paul Taylor aids the audience’s understanding of Leslie’s conceptualisation and vision for this years cohort. Structured improvisation creates a space for chance choreographic moments to arise. Matthew Tighe plays a Bach violin solo whilst nestled within the dancers on stage, his live music embellishes the corporeal duets caressed by pink and yellow lights.
Zoi Dimitriou utilised this showcase in order to revive and re-establish nineties rave culture. 99 moves questions and delves into the genealogy of rhythm, movement and how it is appropriated by different people and cultures. The dancers realised this anthropological inquiry through a communal groove that provoked the audience into indulging in their own bop to the music. Iconographically, the dance-piece was legitimate and convincing; each dancer was well equipped with their own garish and metallic shell-suit. They were dowsed in yellow light, whilst red strobes were a constant frame that immediately informed the audience about the techno-club atmosphere. Innate human-like interactions weaved their way in-between more choreographed unison-phrases that were comparable to the effects of psychedelic drugs. The metallic material of the shell suits interacted with the stage-lighting as the dancers arms floated in space on a orbital-axis.
“This dance is not mine, it already existed in the dancer, I just un-covered it and framed it”. The programme notes succinctly explain the choreographic process of Nothing & Being.; this was a collaborative and inter-disciplinary approach. Gary Lambert in collaboration with the dancers explores human existence in space and time. Silver costumes compliment the celestial-like ballet movements.
BA3 commissioned works exceeds the audience's expectations through a varied choice of choreographers. This variation drew out nuances of creativity and facility within each of the dancers in training.