Aiming to give us a “heads up” regarding new and upcoming young dance talent, “high quality dance diversions… fresh ideas… new and exciting”, this showcase offers five pieces of work that all need development before they move into the professional arena. If it was a programme of self-promoted choreographers, it would fit well into the Fringe programme. However, this was curated and the artists were invited, so the bar has been set higher.
Though two wobble or preen, the dancers are obviously well trained and perform with focus. Emma Snellgrove and Stefania Catarinella in particular move smoothly, with ease and proficiency. Overall, the production and some of the costumes are simple but effective, especially the spotlight in Cabbages and Queens by Jay Yule, one of the more noteworthy.
There are attractive aspects to each piece: in Dis-Connected the costume and initial pose are eye catching and poised; Claricia Parinussa in Untitled (Labyrinth) has a confident stage presence looking for a new language, merging body popping and contemporary; Snellgrove and Catarinella duet with a lithe grace, and the spoken word delivery is bold; and if you know your Lewis Carroll, you will recognise all sort of references in Cabbages and these jumping off points are the most integrated and interesting.
The choreography consists, in the main, of steps learned from teachers in class. To find originality, these budding dance makers must start with their own instinctual, honest reactions to music/text/feelings, and find the new ideas from there. The danger of reproducing others’ styles, though ideal to learn this way in college, is that the movements do not connect to the themes expressed in the programme, they do not emanate from a true inner place. There was no evidence that an individual relationship was made with, for example, the poem used in When Time Stood Still or the dramaturgy in Go/Labyrinth (Untitled).
Most emerging companies/soloists cannot afford a director, but it is hoped that mentoring, if on offer from Dance Base, would inspire these talented dancers to immerse themselves in their source material and discover choreography which is identifiable as their own, after all they have now graduated and are working professionally.
NB: Review is of 10 Aug showcase. The 11 Aug showcase had different contributors.