Byline: Richard Edmonds
Ballet BC is a Canadian-based dance company with some excellent dancers who, sadly, were not best served by some obscure choreography, which tried to convey interesting ideas about social identity and the sensations of physical movement experienced by the world at large, and failed. Setting out stimulating ideas on paper is one thing, but expressing those abstract concepts in choreographic terms is quite another. Which means that for long periods of time, as is often the case in modern dance programmes, you were left wondering what on earth was going on and why. I offer a quote from a programme note by resident choreographer with Ballet BC, Emily Molnar, on 16+ A Room, the opening dance piece. "16+ A Room is inspired by the writings of Jeannette Winterson, Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson. It is a study about time, transition and stillness, where the beginning and end of an event intersects and the space between becomes a comment of its own." (there is more). To run a literary seminar using these themes in relation to the writings of the listed authors is one thing, but to attempt to present them in terms of abstract dance makes for an uneasy piece which had dancers circling, walking and working with jumps and lifts . It was all cold and detatched, suggesting to me that the dancers had been encouraged to show little interest in their audience. The piece was danced to a soundscape which had passages of noises and screams mostly resembling a car crash. The dancers were faithful to Ms Molnar, and it was they who overrode the abstractions of the piece and gave us some fine movement, worthy for its own sake, but for this reviewer 16+ A Room went absolutely nowhere and stayed there. Ms Molnar clearly rates Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar's Bill, since it was included in the programme, a ballet which ( according to the programme note) "is a mesmerizing mix of dance, music and design that punctuates a space with a subtle intensity and guttural virtuosity that creates a world unlike another (sic) that you have encountered." In all fairness the simulation of continual sheets of rain falling down the cyclorama was fascinating to watch. But the dancers left little to remember. The final piece opened with a dancer ostensibly nude. This turned out to be a flesh-coloured body stocking. The piece began with a Latin beat but later developed into a kind of tribal event - a theme explored by Nijinsky a century ago and which clearly still fascinates choreographers. As in all these dance structures the dancers were superb. I can report that the stalls, where I was sitting , was yawningly empty, with only a quarter of the seats taken up.
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Article Type:||Dance review|
|Date:||May 26, 2016|
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