National Dance Company of Wales: 2015 Spring Programme

LAST month, the Arts Centre was presented with three of the five dances from the National Dance Company Wales’ Spring Season 2015. The varying styles that the choreographers incorporated made for a diverse evening of dance from this prestigious company, although a common theme of relationships and interaction was evident. Here is a description of each of the dances shown.

Walking Mad – by John Inger

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Matteo Marfolgia and Natalie Corne in They Seek To Find The Happiness They Seem. Credit: NDCW

A strong opening to the production, Walking Mad by Scandinavian choreographer John Inger explored relationships and the contrasting emotions that come from having them. Set to the soundtrack of the Bolero, Inger used nine dancers in solo, partner and group dances to present relationships with oneself or between people. Feelings of celebration, loneliness and fear so closely interwoven in this 20 minutes piece were highlighted using an extremely versatile set comprising of a wall, which allowed the dancers to move through doors, climb and use it as a horizontal and vertical plane. This and the vibrancy of costume and colour meant that the journey this performance took never ceased to excite.

They Seek to find the Happiness They Seem – by Lee Johnston

The mood significantly changed in Lee Johnston’s They Seek to Find Happiness They Seem, which was also an exploration of relationships. However, it focused on the separation and isolation between couples and was presented in a sombre and delicate, yet desperate fashion. Unlike Walking Mad, the interaction between the pair of dancers (Matteo Marfoglia and Natalie Corne on this evening) was kept at a minimum; the couple never had any eye contact – even when making physical contact – until the last moment of the piece, which made it extremely poignant. A more subtle approach of the presentation of a relationship shown in its minimal lighting and no set, this performance used many movements in unison or conversely the two dancers on opposite side of the stage having ‘lost’ each other. This showed the pair’s longing to be together, but a lack of an emotional connection, leading to a feeling of complete isolation throughout, especially at the end of the piece. 

Tuplet– by Alexander Ekman

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Credit: NDCW

An intensely exciting and enjoyable dance to end with was Tuplet by Alexander Ekman, a choreographer who frequently incorporates rhythm into his work, so decided to centre a whole piece on the element. This dance featured six dancers who all performed various examples of rhythms; be it improvising individually to create a wall of sound accompanied by movement, or working in unison to create movement informed by words, conversation or sounds. This dance interchanges the eleven dancers in the company on different nights, allowing room for change in the piece every time it is performed and the amount of effort both physically and mentally that it took to perform was astounding. This piece was very gripping; my only wish was that it was longer, as I did not want it to end.