Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

A wonder of richness and variation in dance.


National Dance Company Wales , The Riverfront – Newport , March-01-19
AWAKENING by National Dance Company Wales On this day celebrating our patron saint, Saint David we were welcomed by Fearghus Ó Conchúir, the Artistic Director of the National Dance Company Wales, at first in Welsh! He outlined his vision of the achievements in dance he has set out for himself and his company.

What followed was a very clear indication that the high aims he set for the company and its work had been excellently realised.

We were presented with three equally compelling pieces. The first Tundra, nominated for UK Theatre Awards 2018. Superbly choreographed by award winning Spanish Choreographer, Marcos Morau. He worked with such meticulousness that, at times his eight dancers seemed to be dancing as one.

The worked is informed by both Russian folk dancing and its parades and revolution. Much beauty and precision is achieved. Also there is some extraordinary arm work where the dancers create the impression that they are tied in ropes and bound with chains.

Again we see the Russian influence in Angharad Matthews’ magnificent costumes. The dancers take us on a wonderful and varied musical journey.

The second piece Afterimage in a darker setting and set in what appears to be a modern office setting is choreographed very vigorously by Fernando Melo who is from Brazil and is currently Rehearsal Director with Deutsche Oper.

We appear to be seeing two identical male dancers in smart suits sitting at a table, Businessmen, ready to interview clients. Two shirt-sleeved clients appear. The clever use of mirrors is almost imperceptibly convincing us that we are seeing two of every dancer. The interview and much of the remainder of the incidents are frequently interrupted by the appearance of a female dancer in a bright green dress. She seems to appear and disappears at will. This is effected by another clever use of mirrors. A second table is added and more dancers lie and make interesting shapes on the table. Again mirrors double the effect of the scene.

The varied music speeds the work along to its rewarding conclusion.

The final, larger, newly created piece created by Resident Choreographer, Caroline Finn, ‘Revellers’ Mass’ is loosely based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. The long table is there but the naked shop dummies that decorate the stage were definitely not in the original picture.

As time goes on they are cleverly incorporated into the drama of the action. To begin, we hear a church bell and organ music, candles are reverently lit. The tempo quickens and a single dancer in a very colourful cassock leads the very robust dancing to open this totally compelling piece. More vigorous and decadent dancing continues. As the music becomes more melodious less vigour and more beauty fills the stage.

It is the overall beauty of this wonderful evening of very varied dance that totally captivates us all.

For touring details see:

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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