The Unlimited celebration of Integrated Dance in the Clore Ballroom, featured seven different pieces of work from Anjali, Corali, Magpie, Slide and Stopgap Dance Companies. Review by Sophie Partridge
The set opened with Corali Youth Company's Matisse on my Mind. This was a light & entertaining piece, taking the theme of Matisse's colourful cut-outs with the dancers themselves, drawn into images from the exhibition, projected on to the screen, which they then performed in front of.
The company had created their own paper cut-outs, blowing them through the space and interacting with the patterns they made and with each other. Sometimes performers came lost behind the pillars, which was frustrating as an audience member but it was very clear all members were enjoying themselves!
The second piece from one lone performer with Anjali Dance Co., entitled Second Skin, was a stark contrast. As stated in the program, “A young man trapped in his identity peels off layers of gender stereotyping” which was exactly what he did! Starting the performance wearing one high heeled boot and one shoe, along with a tail coat. The performer wrestles with himself and the clothes, tossing his long hair with provacative movements including pulling the tie out towards the audience, symbolising his struggle. Gradually layers are shed to reveal a dress in a triumphal moment; this was a highly skilled & strong piece.
Next up was Corali Adult Dance Co.'s, Empty Theatre Dreams (extract); this felt a more traditional `inclusive dance', with and `obvious' mix of disabled & non-disabled performers. Again a screen was utilised and I liked the projected drawings of empty buildings filled with squiggles which the dancers then tried to emulate. The piece finished with both an empty space and `empty' drawing...
Magpie Dance Co. then followed, with Made by Many which I felt, was the strongest of all seven pieces. The twelve dancers performed with live drumming and although as the title states, had been made by many, the piece was complete and cohesive, with all performers wholly utilising the space and making it their own. Connections were made between paired dancers and then with the company at large. Personally I enjoyed seeing an all disabled cast perform without a Carer type/ non-disabled member present which I feel, often characterises `integrated dance' and not always for the best. Choreographed by the group to build tension & pace built through out, the piece was captivating with its strong, rhythmic movements... More Please!
A change of pace next, with Stopgap Youth Dance Co.'s Sun Is Action; with the performers wearingsilver shoes to indicate the solar system and intertwining with each other, again this was a more conventional piece, co-devised piece amongst the company members.
I think Anjali Dance Co.'s dance, was the most technically outstanding. The two female performers with learning difficulties performed a truly balletic and complex dance, with choreographed sequences performed to such a standard I know I could never learn or emulate! Performed previously at the flame lighting ceremony for Paralympics,The Reflection was a piece of high skill and `quality', which some better known & Professional Dance Companies could certainly learn from!!
Finally came Slide Dance, a company of young dancers with their piece, Free. Using ribbons to form tangible threads between them at times and then breaking away, this gave good focus to the piece and provided a fitting finale to the whole set; certainly a `celebration of dance' for Unlimited!