Richard Lutz reviews two productions that reflect the healthy dance world in the West Midlands.
A decade ago, Haiti was hit by a huge earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale. It delivered death, destitution, devastation to the island.
Choreographer Tamsin Fitzgerald visited as part of an aid programme and she created an exploration of the horrors of the quake.
It’s called 7.0 Redux and the all-male cast of this production by 2Faced Dance, based in Hereford, powerfully reflects how the tremor, the wind, the floods caused such chaos. The five dancers seem to be flung into the air of The Patrick Centre, almost flying at times from the shock. Loss is beautifully portrayed too as sand trickles through the hands and fingers of one of the troupe as he gazes at what has vanished in his life. it is an effective forceful piece. And it’s framed by live music.
Ms Fitzgerald also oversaw pair of companion performances. The Qallies intriguingly uses a voice over from a sports writer about the world of satellite pro tennis – deconstructing the sheer guts and power and single mindedness it takes to tour in the game when you’re a minor player with little hope of entering The Big Game. It’s clever: watching a dance project about a written essay that has been voiced as an aural framework. A third piece, Hollow in the World Too Full, was a solo production by dancer Sam Buswell and also used live music to drive the work forward.
The evening kicked off, by the way, with a piece from the Elmhurst Ballet School. It was an ensemble work from about three dozen of the young teenagers, many of them showing not only exuberance but style and commitment in a production danced to the an instrumental work called Thunders and Lightnings by Ezio Bosso.
Actually, it proved effective enough for me to go to the school this weekend for a full length final year performance on its Edgbaston campus.
Its work, called Synergy, displays where tomorrow’s British dancers may emerge from. The school wisely has set up its own ballet company and there was power and elegance in a full evening that ranged from hip hop to Brubeck to the inevitable Tchaikovsky.
Standouts included Jakob Myers who not only performed in Ashton’s gentle Tweedledum and Tweedledee but choreographed You Never Know which is an R&B number that was geometric in form…. coolhanded precision work which showed how some of the teenaged dancers (think of them as sixth formers about to go out into the world) took control of the stage as opposed to simply appearing on it.
Another bright spot was Emily Ormsby, in choreographer Dame Ninette de Valois’s piece Checkmate. She was the red queen (as above left ) in this two-hander about the intricate world of chess and she delivered a graceful flowing performance that showed maturity beyond her years.
But to single out only some of the dancers could be unkind. This ensemble cast are heading for Sadler’s Wells for their next shows. They deserve all the attention they get.