Review: Champloo Dance Company in White Caps at Lilian Baylis Studio

Performance: October 2011
Reviewed by Katherine de Klee - Thursday 27 October 2011

Before the show started I thought ‘White Caps’ must refer to the name of the crew (as in ‘da crew man’), knowing that Champloo was a break dancing company, or perhaps that it referred to an item of clothing they would be wearing. I didn’t expect it to refer to the distant mountains the two brothers were journeying towards. It was quite a disorientating performance: breakdancing comes from hip hop culture but White Caps was more elven than urban. There was no concrete or streets, only leaf covered pathways through the woods, and the only stairs were the ones under a glistening waterfall.

The name Champloo comes from the Japanese word chanpuru (meaing mixture) and they fused dance styles and music and medium in their performance. The combination of stunning film and the dancers on the stage was very skilfully put together, and the music was stirring. My favourite bits were the faster pieces: they were filled with more energy and excitement than the tranquil slower parts. I liked watching them moving together but not in synchronisation: just before, just after, just around each other. If their feet were drawing lines on the stage then they would have scrawled letters in colourful graffiti, and I can’t help feeling that it would have looked better on pavements.

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