Director: Paul Bayes Kitcher
Reviewer: Helen Jones
Fallen Angels Dance Theatre is not your normal dance company. It was set up in 2011 by Artistic Director Paul Bayes Kitcher following his own personal recovery experience, and it is where he now develops and directs professional work, alongside participatory programmes for people within criminal justice programs and addiction/recovery rehabilitation.
Upon Awakening was created and developed from participants’ individual recovery journeys, as a portrayal of the lost souls searching and eventually finding that glimmer of hope that gives them a future.
The dance piece Upon Awakening is preceded by a clip from a documentary about the company and what they do, focussing on both the professionals involved and the group members. This is followed by Achieve Salford -Fallen Angels group, in a routine showcasing each of their journeys to recovery. It is highly evocative and expressive, an experience enhanced by the music used. The group of mixed ages work cohesively to produce a fine piece of performance art.
After a short pause, Upon Awakening opens. This uses predominantly professional performers: Ian Brown, Joseph Reay-Reid, Julia Griffin, Philip Ashby and Nicolette Whitely. It is a true ensemble show, with each dancer having time in the spotlight. Dance and movement are used to great effect to give meaning and development to the storyline. Philip Ashby’s Jokeresque character is particularly compelling while the two younger dancers Nicolette Whitely and Joseph Reay-Reid are a joy to watch. Their skill is especially obvious during all the lifts used, with the control used to pull off the complex lifts not detracting from but intensifying the significance of the dance.
A variety of music is used throughout the performance, mostly percussive, which is highly effective at creating the basis for the sheer emotion that the dancers create for the audience to share. Paul Bayes Kitcher has created and choreographed a stunning dance show and his tight direction ensures that the momentum carries through from the start to the last visual image.
Fallen Angels Dance Theatre are out there doing an amazing job with members of the community who need them the most. This show not only showcases their work with these people who are often ignored but also produces one of the best short dance pieces this reviewer has seen in a long time. Upon Awakening was only on one night at The Lowry, but is well worth seeing if it comes on near you.
Reviewed on 16 November, 2016 | Image: Contributed