Review: Bloom! in City at The Place

Performance: 4 & 5 August 2011
Reviewed by Libby Costello - Wednesday 10 August 2011

BLOOM! 'CITY' 5 August, The Place

Reviewed 5 August

The Place is buzzing this July and August. Under the umbrella name of Summer House, international artists are programmed in the Robin Howard Theatre each Thursday and Friday at 8:30pm, with a 7pm studio performance, bringing back the much loved Touch Wood season in the Place studios. Touch Wood offers a glimpse of participants on the summer intensive courses and professional choreographers involved in research at The Place. These are works in progress – a real opportunity to see choreography in its raw state. On Friday night Ben Wright, Gabi Reuter and Avant Garde Dance took to the bare floor boards to present their latest choreographic feats, followed by internationally acclaimed dance collective Bloom!

Bloom! has an endearing movement style. They are good dancers but what sells _*City* _is their ability to present an idea and not over act naturalistic scenarios. The vivid backdrop of nondescript posters, designed by David Harris, could be any wall in any city of the world, yet you don’t often find five dancers nakedly jumping on many streets.

City has a collaborative feel, which has advantages and disadvantages. Mostly the multitude of voices, directions and themes Bloom! try to cover in their 55 minute piece are fully captivating and ironic to a tee. On the downside not all sections mould together as slickly as they could. This is really evident in the abrupt finish, which left the audience to guess if the performance had come to an end or just reached an elaborate pause.

_*City* _*gave us an impression of oppression and discrimination as a voiceover picked out dancers and put them through their paces. Instructions such as ‘sit down, stand up, jump, sit down’ started off in a light hearted manner but soon changed to bullying.*

There is no escaping that the artists intend to make us as an audience feel both uncomfortable – then ease us into the absurd seeming normal. Viktória Dányi, Csaba Molnár, Tímea Sebestyén, Moreno Solinas and Igor Urzelai have their kit on and off so many times that their naked form seems just as familiar as their clad bodies. Don’t let the amount of nudity put you off, it’s done in an amusing way and has actual function. The collective even mock their own use of nudity. ‘Do you think you’re being original?’ the Big Brother voiceover sarcastically asks as it begins to direct the action more and more as the piece progresses.

Hungarian dance collective Bloom! is no stranger to success as City has already won them the 2010 Rudolf Laban Award for best dance production.

Summer House continues at The Place until 16 September **”more details/booking“:http://www.theplace.org.uk/summerhouse

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