Review: Cloud Dance Festival: Dream On at Chisenhale Dance Space

Performance: 26 September 2008
Reviewed by Rebecca Goor - Friday 10 October 2008

The Cloud Dance Festival: Dream On, opened the weekend’s entertainment with the choreography of Lina Patterson. ‘M promised inspiration from Greek mythology through guilt, passion, frustration and rejection. These themes were all evident within the gestural, quirky movements performed, although it could have been explored further dynamically and portrayed more through the repetitive structure. The music co-existed effortlessly within the space and the overall atmosphere felt easy but engaging.

RWA (Ready Willing Able) Dance Company presented *Still/Life*, a short contemporary piece about still life in places and life as suggested within poems. It was about being taken to another place, but wanting to be held back. This piece was of a slightly slower pace, with the emphasis on weight-bearing movement with technical interludes added at intervals. The piece exuded emotional content and dramatic movement patterns although the piece lacked performance from both artists at times.

‘The Other’, choreographed and performed by Martin Robinson and Cat Casbon of Martial Dance, began with a set of tableaux setting the scene of a women’s struggle for equality and empowerment in the aftermath of World War Two. The period costumes highlighted the theme more so than the movement, with the male figure dressed in uniform and the woman in a chiffon dress. The main movement patterns took their basis/ideals from the technique of Martha Graham, with the influence being so strong at times that the theme became lost in the ‘usual technique class’. When the individual and seemingly original choreography was performed, a deeper integrity and connection was felt by the audience, drawing them into the theme and keeping them hooked as a story seemed to unfold.

One of the highlights of the Friday night section of the Cloud Dance Festival was Raymond Tait Dance Company. Through its humor, effortless performance and cleverly choreographed movement, ‘*In To You’*, was the perfect dance theatre piece. The dancers all moved beautifully, communicating the theme of the scientific relationship between love and its chemical reactions, excellently. The movement was crisp and accurate, with technical and free improvisation alike. The voice used was clear and coherent, whilst the music choices, including a live violinist, exuded maturity and clever consideration from the choreographer.

Cascade Dance completely shocked the viewer on beginning the piece. At first glance the performers and choreographer looked young and inexperienced, but once they started moving the maturity and intelligence of an established choreographer and company shone through. ‘Crossroads’ explored the idea of decision making and indecisive new beginnings, through the use of rhythmically challenging steps, noticeable technique and repetitive structures. The music only enhanced the movement and theme, allowing the audience to watch the piece as a whole, rather than focus on one part of the choreography.

An abstract combination of movement versus music seemed to be portrayed within Scarlett Perdereau’s ‘Spare Rib’. A work in progress, ‘Spare Rib’ focused on the dialogue between music and dance, exploring the ‘body- instrument’ through collaboration between dancers and musicians and it achieved exactly that. The gifted musician played effortlessly to the movement being performed by the three female dancers, even performing pedestrian movements himself. The performance focus of the dancers could have been more encapsulating, and it often seemed that the two performers upstage took the lead from Scarlett when performing in unison. The movement and music worked well, although in some parts the dance overshadowed the music and vice versa.

The second highlight of the evening was performed by Ijad Dance Company and choreographed by Joumana Mourad. ‘2B3D’ combined speed, energy and passion, inspired by Tomas Saraceno. The use of costume was an enormous influence on the overall empowerment of the piece. The electric colours and sharp lines added to the technicality of the movement, and props such as a playground tube and bubble machine only added another layer to the fantasy created by the choreographer. It was fresh and exciting to see all of the dancers taller in height, giving added dimension and depth to the movement quality performed. Overall this was a great dance theatre piece, using costume, projection, quirky props and movement in a way that kept the audience entertained and engaged every step of the way.

What’s On