Review: VERVE @ Queens Hall, Hexham

It’s interesting to see how the language of dance can be translated in so many ways. The choreographer can create a dance piece with an intention of how they want the audience to see it but that doesn’t mean that is how the audience experience it the same way.

Northern School of Contemporary Dance presented VERVE, a dance performance of four very different pieces of work choreographed by four international artists.

VERVE is the postgraduate company of Northern School of Contemporary Dance, each year the company commission choreographers to  create new dance pieces that will tour across the UK and internationally.

First in the programme was Rita, created by Carlos Pons Guerra the dance piece was a narrative about the world of nunneries. Quite a comical piece as both female and male dancers were dressed in Victorian costume.It told a story of rebellion as their everyday routine was strict and consisted of hard and repetitive movements, with elements of expressive and fluid movements making it clear that the nuns wanted to break free from their monotonous routine.  Guerra was inspired by Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides and the vestal world of nunneries. It showed what can happen when our needs and desired are being suppressed.

There was a mixture of styles in the programme that was refreshing to see, particularly in the second performance of the evening which was Continuum. I struggled to connect with this piece in comparison to the previous dance. Continuum was about the continuous cycle of destruction and repair. It was full of energy and the dancers used the spacing of the stage well yet to me I didn’t full understand what the movement was trying to convey.

Soft Power Generator  really brought a new level to the contemporary dance world.  What I can only describe as digital animals, the dancers were all dressed in black wearing black shades with a chain hanging down.  The movements were animalistic mixing fluidity with staccato it looked like they were apart of a chain or some sort of process. The dancers used their own voices as the music to the piece, each time a new sound was added the movement would change yet the dynamic would stay the same. As if each layer of sound was changing that system, to me it was not just a dance piece it was an interesting piece of visual art.

Last in the programme, James Cousins created a topical piece called Fable of Our Time.  Perhaps the next Matthew Bourne, this choreographer can tell a story through the art of dance. It was relevant and topical to today’s current affairs, telling the story of Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall it certainly created an atmosphere with the audience. It physical and metaphorically portrayed the mental barriers that Trump is creating for the human race. Fable of Our Time was a powerful portrayal of how the american people are being affected by power.

I suppose that is the power of dance, although there is no physical language. Just by the power of movement people can have an understanding about the world around them.

To find out more about Verve  and where you can see them click here


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