Review: Transitions Dance Company - Laban Theatre

Performance: 25 - 27 May 2016
Reviewed by Alice Westoby - Thursday 26 May 2016

Transitions Dance Company 2016. Photo: James Keates

Performance reviewed: 25 May

Trinity Laban’s Transitions Dance Company opened their home run at Laban Theatre last night to an absorbed audience with an admirably diverse triple bill of work from choreographers Ederson Rodrigues Xavier, Theo Clinkard and Dog Kennel Hill Project.

The company, comprising of an international cast of twelve dancers studying for their Masters at the conservatoire, were of a professional calibre as they danced a demanding and thrilling programme of work. Ederson Rodrigues Xavier’s 12 was a gripping start to the night. The dancers, lined up in robotic fashion, took turns to break rank and explore the physicality of their own bodies as they darted around the space. Limbs rippled in response to unseen forces, creating impulses through their bodies that were near palpable to the audience thanks to the dexterity of the dancers. Undulating torsos evolved into physical puzzles between individuals divided into formations of three, as they explored the space around and between them to a sci-fi soundscape. If the heart-rate monitor style-beeping accompaniment wasn’t ominous and extra-terrestrial enough, the piece turned full alien thanks to tubes of light hidden in the chests of the dancers costumes designed by Suzie Holmes, which cleverly lit the black stage as they performed.

After a relatively quick turn around following what was a physically demanding piece, the dancers returned to the stage to perform Theo Clinkard’s My Dance, Your Touch. Created in response to research into the way “physical touch effects our behavioural, cultural, emotional and biological development” the piece captured human nature and interactions and clearly guided us through all manner of touch and sensation. It began with a ‘me and my shadow’ moment as one dancer swirled in a beam of light with another behind, obscured in the darkness, but mirroring the movement like a presence that can be felt but not touched. The group supported each other, catapulted each other around the space and moved as a pack, finishing with two dancers remaining in furry bear-like onesies, nuzzling and curiously exploring each other in a charmingly tender but primal duet.

The final piece of the evening was a witty and original concept from Dog Kennel Hill Project entitled Fieldwork. Inspired by the recordings of American folk music collector, Alan Lomax, the dancers mapped out the stage in movement and speech with the precision of an Ordnance Survey map. Each lunge navigated to within a compass degree of accuracy, with running commentary delivered by dancers with deadpan hilarity. The landscape of the stage was fully mapped as, the dancers like orienteers, the space was navigated from a different perspective. Legs became ‘tree trunks’ and a fist planted on the floor a ‘pale fleshy mound.’ As a finale it worked fantastically well. After seeing a well-rehearsed Transitions Dance Company unit performing two fairly technical pieces, their individual personalities were allowed to boldly shine through in this light-hearted ending to an evening showcasing an incredibly talented cohort of new performers.

Continues at Laban Theatre until Friday 27 May
www.trinitylaban.ac.uk



Alice Westoby studied Dance at the University of Chichester and now works in arts marketing in London, as well as writing about dance for A Younger Theatre and London Calling. She has taken part in The Place’s Resolution Review 2016. Find her on Twitter @alicemayw_

Photo: James Keates

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