Artistic Director: Sharon Watson
Choreography: Didy Veldman, Ivgi &Greben, Darshan Singh Bhuller
Reviewer: S.E. Webster
At the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the spring season of theatre is in full sway and Leeds based dance company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, have returned to the Playhouse with a new andexciting mixed programme.
The programme consists of three different routines; beginning with See Through, an old piece first performed by the company in 2005 at the Playhouse and choreographed by Didy Veldman, as well as two new pieces: Document, choreographed by Ivgi &Greben, and Mapping, which is choreographed by Darshan Singh Bhuller, the former artistic director of the company.
It is safe to say that the programme is diverse in mood, beginning with fluid and dream-like scenes of dancing, before transitioning to highly strung and fully energized states of being. Some clever set design in the See Through sequence, helps to create an eerie atmosphere, where the dancers and their movements are reflected in suspended mirrors, yet the overall piece seems to lack real emotion or any sense of a story. The costumes are also perhaps over-used and become misleading, since they are more suggestive of a realm of sleep and dreams than an ‘undersea world.’
Meanwhile, the two new pieces of dance, Document, and Mapping, are both brilliantly executed and an absolute delight to watch. The dancers throw all of their emotional and physical energy into Ivgi &Greben’s powerful choreography, where five dancers portray the darker side of human nature, from anger to excruciating pain and sorrow. The torn costumes work effectively and the continuous, heavy beats of the music, composed by Tom Parkinson, really help to emulate the emotions the dancers are portraying.
However it is the final piece, Mapping, which steals the whole show. A refreshing mix of highly skilled dancing, with some truly inspired comic moments proves the perfect way to conclude the programme. Moreover, the set design works incredibly well, with some highly effective use of lighting, and there is some interesting use of props too, from ladders to handheld video cameras and tennis balls.
Phoenix Dance is collaborating with NVA to create Ghost Peloton, one of the headlining performances in the upcoming Yorkshire Festival 2014, celebrating the Tour De France, which starts in Yorkshire this July. Thus, if you want to experience a taste of what will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting and most heavily broadcast events of 2014, then head on down to the Playhouse for an evening of dance!
Runs until: 15th February 2014