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National Dance Company Wales AWAKENING Tour Review

National Dance Company Wales AWAKENING Tour Review

Having been a resident in Wales for almost 14 years now, these rolling hills are most definitely home, however I’m ashamed to say I have yet to watch the National Dance Company Wales perform! That is, untill, I was invited to review their current tour AWAKENING, and what’s even better, the performance would be at my local theatre Theatr Clwyd. I love supporting local independent theaters, as it would be such a loss to communities if they disappeared. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance!

NDCW are a contemporary dance company based at the Dancehouse in the Millenium Centre, Cardiff. They aim to provoke people into discovering dance, talking thinking and understanding, as well as participating. They tour around Wales, and the UK as well as overseas, bringing their works to people who may not otherwise get a chance to watch. Their current tour AWAKENING is a triple bill.

AFTERIMAGE

This piece will have you at war with what you see and what you think you see. The term ‘seeing is believing’ both applies and does not, at the same time. By the end of the 20 minute performance, you will have changed your mind at least 10 times on how the effects were achieved, or put it down to sheer sorcery!

The stage is set with a large mirror as the backdrop, with a simple table and 2 chairs infront of it. A man sits on one of the chairs. As he starts to move, so too, does his refelction. He looks at his reflection, almost pondering it, then lools back into his hands. Suddenly, we see another dancer on the opposite side of the table, but no other dancer has entered the stage, she is interacting with the dancers reflection!

What ensues is the most magicical illusion of dancers acting and reacting with one another on stage or their reflections, fading in and out into the darkness. As the tension builds in the music, so do the dancers interactions, becoming more intense, with more dancers fading in and out. I can only describe them as ghosts at a seance, trying to connect to the physical world. Spirits and souls inahbiting the bodies on the stage. It’s truly a spectacle, and the auditorium was a buzz with thoughts and theories well after it had ended.

THEY SEEK TO FIND THE HAPPINESS THEY SEEM

A duet with a danceworks that echoes relationships. One of finding eachother and happiness, moving as one, blissfully unaware of anything else apart from the significant other. There was real tenderness to their movements.

But just as much as they are together as one, so too are they their own seprate entities. Occasionally breaking away from one another, going in seperate directions and finding their own movements and rhythms.

The tension and speed at which they were moving kept building until the end, when they came together again. They showed such strength and control in their bodies, it was as if watching in slow motion. And just like a circle, everything comes back to the beginning, and they were as one again.

REVELLERS’ MASS

My favorite piece. The music started as an acapella choir, what you might imagine hearing in a small secluded church, tucked away in italian hills. A huge altar was set on stage, with the candles being progressively lit by the ‘master’. The others were walking and moving in a calm, hushed manor. In hind sight, the proverbial quiet before the storm.

The master became the conductor, as he summoned others at his beck and call. Their movements became so intense and erratic, it appeared they had been possessed, and the master was performing some sort of exorcism ritual. This intense chaos slowly spread like a fever to the rest of the dancers, convulsive and explosive. This high tempo, agressive feel stayed for longer than was comfortable, tension remained high. Then just as suddenly as the storm came, it passed. But the mess and destruction left behind was plain to see.

The final scenes are reminiscent of the day after the night before house party. Everyone slightly bewildered, listless, faced with the mamouth task of tidying up and someone always has to be dragged off to recover!

All in all, AWAKENING triple bill was an evening of fascination, connection and power. It leaves you questioning the boundaries of dance and it’s power to convey ideas and provoke thoughts long after you’ve left the auditorium. It stays with you.

AWAKENING will stop at The Hafren Newtown on Thursday 21st on March, before continuing on it’s nationwide tour, finishing in May. More details of dates and venues can be found on their website https://ndcwales.co.uk/awakening

*special thanks to Guy and Nia from NDC and Theatr Clwyd*

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