Dance Review: EDge 'A NEW GENERATION OF DANCE ARTISTS - Thursday 21 April 2016

EDge is a post-graduate dance company of The Place (London contemporary dance school) with 13 dancers from various cultural backgroundss including Hong Kong, the U.S and England. Each member of edge has an impressive résumé, with under-graduate degrees from Trinity Laban & Toronto Dance Theatre.

Piece 1

PICTURES MOMENTS JOURNEYS

The dancers incorporated urban dance techniques into their contemporary dance, which was very effective as their isolations & ripples were fluid and merged in nicely with the more lyrical dance moves. There was a variety of facial expressions amongst the dancers. One dancer had a very aggressive and intense facial expression, whilst another looked sad, thoughtful and emotive.

The choreography was incredibly creative and consisted of the dancers grouping together tightly, and then unravelling into the space, often beginning in straight lines. When one dancer did a dance move, it had a knock on domino effect on the others, kick-starting their movements. There were times in which one dancer would be isolated in the corner of the stage whilst the others remained in a group.

I felt excited watching the first piece. It gave me a tingly sensation down my spine. I was fascinated throughout, and eager to see more once the dance came to an end.

There was one point when one of the male dancers very suddenly screamed, which made me laugh because it surprised me. I think perhaps the scream represented either strength or pain.

Technically the dancers were up to the mark; their bodies looked very heavy and low when using urban dance techniques, and their lines, feet & legs were gorgeous when they danced lyrically. They were very rhythmic as a group, with perfect timing to their fellow dancers.

In some parts the music and dance seemed mis-fitted; when they incorporated urban techniques the music was still soft and lyrical. However, although they didn’t use ‘typical urban dance music’ it actually added contrast and made the piece more interesting. There was a scene in which a boy lay on the floor with two females stood each side of him, gesturising weapons. It appeared to be a bullying scene, and the music was emotive, dramatic and lyrical during this scene, which fitted perfect.

The lighting was well set during this piece. Sometimes the lights were dim, and the lines of the dancers casted an exaggerated shadow, and at other times the lights were bright & full, enabling you to see the dancers more clearly. Also, the dancers wore typical ‘every day clothing’, which made the piece feel more relaxed, like they were representing an every day situation. If the dancers had worn leotards and stage make-up, it would have changed the production drastically.

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Piece 2

AS OUR BODIES TELL

This particular piece provoked a lot of confusion, I could sense confusion amongst other audience members; there was also a strong sense of fascination, because the piece was so different, it provoked curiosity. It also made me feel uncomfortable because the dancers were wedged on one another, taking a lot of body weight. Visually, they looked like an avalanche of bodies shifting on top of one another. This made me feel awkward and unsettled as it was unexpected as I had never seen it before.

The second dance piece wasn’t a ‘technical dance piece’, it more of a physical theatre piece. More than anything, it showed me the dancer’s strength and endurance, as the piece was very physically demanding. There were moans and groans amongst the dancers as they were trampled on, and they often looked ‘dazed out’. I thought they acted well during the piece. At one point, the audience began to laugh, in which some of the dancers laughed in response. This was not a rehearsed part of their performance, but it created bonding between the audience & the dancers.

There wasn’t any music until the very end of the piece when the dancer’s rose up to standing, which I thought was very effective; because it made you focus on the piece more, creating a silence & intensity. The dancers definitely worked well together; when one dancer moved it caused a domino effect, as with the first dance.

They had excellent body awareness of themselves & spatial awareness of their fellow dancers and how to use the space to navigate accordingly.

The lights were on over the audience during this piece, which made the audience feel more confident to interact with each other and talk about the piece. This was effective and definitely done so that the audience members could communicate about the controversial piece.

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Piece 3

UNDERGOING

I found it both intense and relaxing. There were times when I was fascinated by the flawless technique of the dancers, and how smooth their transitions, tricks & lifts were.

The third piece consisted of several duets and trios, which were a refreshing change from seeing the students, perform as one large group. One particular duet consisted of two men and one woman, and the men appeared to be chasing the woman. They worked well together; there were lots of pauses, but the dancers still performed whilst they were stood still. There was a lot of gentle contact work such as intertwining limbs, lifting and slight knocking which looked artistic, smooth and powerful.

The music was soft and gentle, but it didn’t stick in my memory because it was similar to the music used in previous pieces. It was interesting how the duets and trios showed clear relationship dynamic, such as a male and female relationship turmoil, which I thought the music fit perfectly.

The lights were very dim during this piece, which I thought dramatised the piece, making it more intriguing.

The dancers wore every day clothes such as silk trousers and blouses; yet they still managed to do leg extensions, cartwheels and other flexibility requiring dance moves, which I found interesting.

Piece 4

THE TIDE

I felt refreshed and interested to hear the dancers' voices during the final piece, as they hadn’t spoke during the previous pieces. This piece gave me a warm feeling because they interacted with the audience and showed a lot of personality.

This piece didn’t provoke as much emotions in me as the other’s did, particularly because I didn’t understand their sense of humour & the story line; I think it could have been more abstract or more obvious.

There was comedy used in the piece, but I didn’t feel as though it was typical ‘British humour’, the audience didn’t really react to the jokes. I would best describe them as being ‘almost funny, but not quite’. I did however enjoy it when the spokesperson would say something like ‘and she lay out flowers’, which would then cause the dancers to dance and gesture to represent flowers.

The final piece was ideal to execute as the last dance. Especially considering the first 3 dances were very intense. The lighting was much brighter in this piece, creating a more relaxed feel. Also, the music was up-beat and light-hearted which matched their dancing.

The lights were on full during the piece, which worked very well as it made the audience feel at ease to communicate with one another. The dancer’s wore old fashioned costumes, such as 1940’s dresses, berets and mustard suits. I liked the costumes but I don’t know what relevance this had to the production, as they were suddenly set a few decades back unlike previous pieces.

 

I think the music could have been more varied throughout the show, as this would have made it even more interesting. They were very unique in their style, setting them apart from other contemporary dancers. I think piece 2 could have been shorter, as the dancers did the same thing throughout, and it would have had an equal amount of impact if it had went on for five or ten minutes rather than 17. Overall I thought the dancers gave a well-executed performance with exquisite technique, excellent performance skills & that they worked well as a team.

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