Companies such as Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT) are incredibly important. They take the sorts of artistic risks that are essential to keep contemporary dance vibrant and alive, and they also know the immense value that commissioning new work has. Tonight, they present two of their more recent commissions: Anton Lachky’s Dreamers, which was premiered in 2015, and TuTuMucky, a new work by Botis Seva, which was premiered at the company’s home, Dundee Rep Theatre, in February this year.
Dreamers is a witty, energetic work, painted with a somewhat broad brush, exploring our fantasies of controlling and perhaps as a side effect, those of being controlled. In general, the sweeping outline of the choreography works well, and it is nicely framed by an empty stage and simple, subtle lighting.
However, the explosions of complex movement do not always contain the necessary fine detail to truly bring them off. Furthermore, the final section, with its unexpected vocalisations, seems to take the work a little off its mark, and is really an unnecessary coda to the previous five sections. Indeed, if the work were shorter, its ideas would have more punch.
The often very intense TuTuMucky, comprises an exciting mashup of styles, and serves as a well-programmed contrast to Dreamers. This is another high-energy work, the dancers clearly very much in the zone, helped along by the moody, well-designed lighting by Emma Jones. Here, the prescription found in ballet-derived movements is juxtaposed with the freer and more chaotic movements that have their roots in Hip Hop and contemporary dance.
Yet, despite its clear dynamism, from time to time the dancing lacks a certain amount of real articulation. This is not helped by Torben Lars Sylvest’s oddly under-articulated music, which in so many other ways is absolutely spot-on. The concomitant defocussing of the work’s momentum, detracts from the overall thrill of the ride, which is a shame.
Nevertheless, this is a certainly an interesting, worthwhile and sometimes exciting evening of dance. If there are caveats, this is just an indication of the programme’s success: work that is genuinely at the cutting edge, will never be perfect.