ContemporaryDanceDramaReviewSouth West

Awakening – The Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Dance company: National Dance Company Wales

Choreographers: Marcos Morau, Fernando Melo, Caroline Finn

Reviewer: Beth Steer

Awakening, a programme of three different dances designed to show the versatility of the fantastic National Dance Company Wales, lives up to its intention to show the audience ‘diverse perspectives on the world.

Broken into three parts, with two twenty minute intervals, Awakening transports the audience seamlessly from one setting to the next.

Tundra, inspired by Russia, and Russian folklore, is unique in its ability to be both incredibly robotic and mesmerisingly beautiful. A haunting mix of precision and flair, it could easily be considered a social commentary piece – exploring conformity, breaking boundaries, artificial intelligence, and, above all, what it truly means to be human.

Afterimage, deliberately left open to audience interpretation, without a single narrative storyline, is completely captivating. The focus on appearances and disappearances, combined with the innovative use of mirrors on stage, creates a dark, reflective mood – evoking a personal response while centering around loss, regret, and relationships.

And, as the final installment, Revellers’ Mass is a decadent, ritualistic finale. It’s inspiration – iconic, religious paintings – shines through, and the aesthetic is both familiar and curious at the same time. It’s ambiguous, enigmatic, and completely compelling, a master of choreography that is a real feast for the eyes, leaving you unable to decide where to look next.

All three pieces combine superb choreography with excellent execution from some very talented dancers. While it would’ve been fantastic to see some more Welsh talent incorporated into this production from National Dance Company Wales, Ed Myhill and Julia Rieder do particularly stand out for their seamless movements and form.

Each piece seems to put a twist on something familiar, creating a haunting uncertainty throughout – as though each dance could take a different direction at any point. A fascinating production and an evening very well spent.

Reviewed on 1st May 2019 | Image: Contributed

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Fascinating, dark and reflective

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The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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