Phoenix Dance sores into action with a new high flying repertoire, combining classic contemporary dance with styles such as hip hop and jazz, to create something truly original and intriguing.
Windrush, the headliner of the performance, tells the story of the great migration many Caribbean’s conducted in hopes of a better life in the UK after WW2. With the UK response to the new arrivals being mixed, some individuals found it hard to locate work and receive local acceptance, however over time relations have flourished, and the work translates this journey from humble beginnings to fitting endings. Taking audiences to the docks, scattered with bags and old crates, the cast sets the scene for the performance, using multifunctional staging to create a swift and well run production. The use of music, from funky reggae to upbeat disco, gives the piece a real pace and energy, enabling viewers to tap along to some iconic old classics. Dance-wise, the cast cleverly combine contemporary dance with that of soul and a touch of Motown to create a unique blend of styles that marry in total harmony.
In addition to Windrush, audiences are first treated to an abstract and slightly futuristic inspired piece entitled ‘Maybe Yes Maybe, Maybe No Maybe’. In a state of competition the dancers are battling over an overhanging microphone above the stage in an attempt to make random sound effects into it, which does strike an element of laughter from the audience. Curiously the somewhat goofy sound effects meld into an almost clubby backing track, and support the performers throughout their runs on to stage. In a nutshell, quick, witty and animated.
Sandwiched in the middle of the two works above comes in the form of ‘Shadows’, a powerful number that portrays a family unit slowly breaking apart around a dinner table. The use of the furniture to create barriers throughout the piece displays a sense of separation and aggression, adding high stakes to a relatively relaxed beginning.
Overall, a trio of treats in one to feast your eyes on this season at the Theatre Royal in York. It would be nice to have a touch more variety in the pieces’ content, as most of the concepts seem previously done, however the dancing nevertheless is of a high quality. Worth a watch, it will definitely have you tapping your feet in approval. 3.5/5
Review written by Luke Redhead.
Windrush: Movement of the People was shown on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd November at the York Theatre Royal. To find out more about Phoenix Dance Theatre, visit here…
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