Review: Dance 3 at Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House

Performance: 4 March & touring
Reviewed by Libby Costello - Tuesday 23 March 2010

Dance3 in London, three contemporary triple bills. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Dance 3 not only sets out to show work from new choreographers, it goes a step further – enticing new audiences who may have shied away from contemporary dance in the past. The three solos shown at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre came from a stock of nine touring dance works enabled by the National Dance Network’s initiative to create opportunities for up and coming choreographers to get new work onto the stage.

Tom Dale’s *Cabin Fever* exquisitely danced by Stephen Moynihan built up tension and a claustrophobic atmosphere with squirming movement and oppressive lighting. Moynihan’s Western style walks punctuated the piece as the dancers pelvis which was shifted unnaturally out of line with his body became a reoccurring motif. The abrupt ending to Cabin Fever left me feeling that this was an except or work in progress, leaving me with an intriguing feeling about where the work could go.

Ben Wright’s *Passing strange and wonderful* started out as an interesting relationship between two people. The outstanding lighting by Guy Hoare gave the duet a sense of intimacy, which was lacking from earlier performances. Instead of the movement being performed in what originally felt like a lack of music, the silence helped to heighten the tension between the couple. Keir Patrick and Lise Manavit both matured in their roles since performing the work as part of *62C* curated by Rafael Bonachela last February. Their relationship offered an insight into the life of two people, bound by the familiarity of a long term relationship but lacking passion. The one kiss on the cheek given by Manavit offered the only tender moment, yet from start to finish the couple rarely left each others side as the whole choreography took place in a square of light no more than a few feet wide.

Claire Cunningham and Jose Agudo’s 4M2 was the weakest work of the evening, ending the night on a rather unsatisfactory note. The duet which incorporated film, text, spoke word, dance and music didn’t seem to add up to the sum of its parts.

Whilst not set to be an annual event, Dance3 showed how new choreography needs a space to grow and develop. These high quality short works may not have had such exposure without this great new initiative by the National Dance Network.

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