Newcastle’s Dance City is a bit of a hidden gem. With the largest Dance programme outside London you can see the best work from the most innovative companies for a quarter of the price you would pay in the capital.
The latest performance from the National Dance Company Wales was no exception. With two performances by two separate artistic directors we were looking forward to yet another visual treat.
After a more serious prologue (which was apparently political but we don’t why) the first piece – Profundis – was a playful exploration of dance as a language with motifs and stories. There were lots of animals in it, funny penguins, prowling lions, knuckle dragging apes and the dancers got to speak, which doesn’t happen all that much (not unsurprisingly) They mainly said “It’s about or it’s not about” followed by some random action or item, but there was a bit of a story at the end where the animals seemed to feature in some sort of narrative to do with the elephant. In the after show talk we learned that this piece was more about challenging the dancers and capitalising on their individual styles and personalities.
After the interval it was time for Caroline Finn’s, The Green House We were gripped from the very start. The green sixties house interior with its fireplace and G plan sideboard was lit with green light and inhabited by crazy green characters. There was fake grass on the floor and the walls and in the frame of the mirror. Very surreal and apparently inspired by the style of David Lynch movies, our dancers wrestled with boredom, anxiety, exclusion, confusion, total anguish, and at some points, it seemed, housework!
|The Green House|
There were lots of plays on themes like being outside looking in, being trapped inside and things going on behind closed doors. Lots of jerky repetitive movements created a continuous feeling of being on edge, of comedic madness. I loved Matteo Marfolglia in his green skirt continually polishing his green apples and putting them in a bowl then taking them all out, putting them methodically away in the cupboard and then doing it all again, with a sort of startled rabbit in the headlights look on his face. The ideas and the movements all tumbled in on top of one another with mogadon suburbia meeting a kind of surreal domestic land of Oz. It was Desperate Housewives on LSD. We loved it! The music was great too with a large portion of the 1959 classic A Summer Place creating that idyllic dreamy fifties feel.
|Trapped in the Green House!|
The multi national dancers were exceptional and they really got the opportunity to contribute to these pieces and their personalities really shone through. What a great job getting to dance and play and create every day, lucky people!
|Who’s in da house?|
Check out the rest of the Dance City programme here Dance City Performances