Wednesday, 26 November 2014

MAGIC IN MOTION: Passion play and avant-garde choreography reign at Company's thrilling Season 26

ESPRIT DE CORPS: Performers take centrestage during Sunday's season-closer at the Little Theatre.

These are dancers barely in their 20s - some of them just learning about craft and technique - but the maturity and artistry they bring to the stage is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Star pupils indeed. I'm referring to the corps of the 26-year-old Company Dance Theatre, which delivered its spellbinding 2014 season — a feast of avant-garde choreography and passion play — at the Little Theatre in Kingston on the weekend.

Almost as triumphant as last year's production, which reintroduced audiences to the Rose Hall saga, Season 26 didn't skimp on the kinetic energy, hyper-vivid costuming, stunning imagery and youthful verve that have come to represent the iconic Tony Wilson brand. It was a hugely enjoyable two-hour performance — a winning melange of new works and old favourites.

Artistic Director Wilson proved he's still very much in his creative prime, unleashing the seductive, enchanting "Twilight," a 2014 debut featuring hedonistic couples moving in sync while clad in eye-popping red outfits. "Rebirth," his masterful opus from 2004, had earlier opened the show with a burst of whimsy and dancers keeping pace with Jon Williams' hypnotic score. As for the kaleidoscopic "Panorama" (2012) — a flurry of colour and Afro-Caribbean flair — brought the electric finale we'd anticipated.

Those who came for rousing interpretations of innovative modern dance were not disappointed, as the contributions of two supremely talented young female choreographers-on-the-rise put everyone on notice. First up, the forward-thinking Liane Williams, whose edgy, techno-driven "The Freeborn) called for slightly robotic movements as it examined the radical shifts in human interaction and our never-ending quest for purpose and meaning. 

Ballet mistress Renee McDonald, meantime, was a bit more daring in her approach, offering the darkly compelling and stunning realized "Divulgence," featuring black-clad members of the company's female corps panting, sprinting, screaming and flitting across the stage in frantic sequences as Ludovico Eunadi's menacing score pumped in the background. To say the emotional work left dancers and audience members out of breath would be a gross understatement. 

And that's probably an apt description for the Company's 2014 season on a whole - a fantastic showcase of breathtaking works and new-generation talents giving us a glimpse at the possibilities of what the future can hold. 

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