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Sun: Victoria Hill

There is nothing egotistic about the People Show Studios whatsoever; despite it being home to the UK’s longest-running experimental theatre company People Show. The handful of square meters that makes up this goblin’s cave, set in a side road off Bethnal Green Road is all at once charming and nostalgic. Its size indicates that this was not the first choice of venue to house such a fast-growing dance festival but it does the trick on a cold winter’s night. The disco décor running the Green Room and cabal of public trying to squash into these cosy quarters keeps me amused until Chantal Guevara, Cloud Dance Festival’s director and producer, signals for us to fill the rafts.

Read more: Sun: Victoria Hill

Sun: Laura Cappelle

So how many festivals actually survive without funding, presenting creations year after year? Cloud Dance Festival has been doing it thrice-yearly since 2007, and proudly introduced its Parade edition in December. Three performances over a weekend featured both favourite artists and newcomers, and although the People Show Studios proved quite small, seeing the performers up close is a privilege often denied in larger venues. The genius of Cloud Dance Festival also lies in its selection of short pieces, some of them works in process – you may not like something, but there are always 7 very different companies to discover, often introducing fresh new works.

Read more: Sun: Laura Cappelle

Sat: Laura Cappelle

So how many festivals actually survive without funding, presenting creations year after year? Cloud Dance Festival has been doing it thrice-yearly since 2007, and proudly introduced its Parade edition in December. Three performances over a weekend featured both favourite artists and newcomers, and although the People Show Studios proved quite small, seeing the performers up close is a privilege often denied in larger venues. The genius of Cloud Dance Festival also lies in its selection of short pieces, some of them works in process – you may not like something, but there are always 7 very different companies to discover, often introducing fresh new works.

Read more: Sat: Laura Cappelle

Sun: Laura Bridges

The closing day of Cloud Dance Festival: Parade met a sold-out auditorium packed with eager dance viewers hungry for what was billed as a ‘Best Of’ special. Welcoming back some of the audience favourites from past festivals, the line-up boasted an exciting evening of contemporary dance.

Read more: Sun: Laura Bridges

Sun: Michelle Harris

Sunday 6th December 2009 and Cloud Dance Festival returned with its latest showcase Parade. As usual this last choreographic platform of the year was an assortment of various styles and offerings.

Read more: Sun: Michelle Harris

Sun: Catherine Hooper

An honoured Bethnal Green played host to the final festival of 2009 produced by Cloud Dance Festival. Once again Cloud Dance Festival is back with a programme of exciting, innovative and groundbreaking pieces, giving London the opportunity to witness emerging and professional companies alike present their new work. This season, Cloud Dance Festival: Parade acts as a ‘best of’ for the festivals with companies selected by Cloud Dance Festival from this year’s previous events. Sunday evening saw a full house support seven organisations showcase their most recent works.

Read more: Sun: Catherine Hooper

Sat: Hetty Blades

Cloud Dance Festival was developed in response to a lack of platforms for contemporary choreographers to share their work. Parade was a weekend of new pieces and some of the highlights from previous festivals. Housed in the cosy People Show Studios in Bethnal Green, Parade was so popular that it was over-subscribed on opening night!

As we are invited to take our seats and enter the theatre two dancers are casually moving in the space.  Festival and nagune (wayfarer), choreographed by Ji Park, is an engaging work from the very beginning. As we enter the theatre two dancers are casually moving in the space. This unconventional framing breaks down the barrier between the audience and performers, connecting us with the dancers from the offset. In the centre of the stage stands a stack of books, this symbolic representation of all the order in our lives becomes a crucial element in the piece. As the dancers work to reorganise the stack, and we experience them struggling with the heavy load we are able to share the burden and effort. The sense relief when the books start to fall from their arms is felt by the audience and dancers alike.

Read more: Sat: Hetty Blades

Sun Matinee: Londonist

 

Cloud Dance Festival: Parade by Lindsey Clarke

 

It didn't bode well that the lighting desk died just minutes before the Sunday matinee was about to begin at the People Show Studios but fortunately for Cloud Dance Festival and its sold out audience, a genius was on hand to get everything back in working order just 15 minutes over schedule. And from an inauspicious start sprang a medley of enthralling, surprising, moving and intriguing dance.

Slanjayvah Dance's sensuous tango influenced duet offers an feast of toned flesh intricately synchronised by Jenni Wren and Phil Singer. Their partnering with blindfolds is inventive, the potential hazards of such complex partner work laid - almost literally - bare. Next up, Nexus Dance's stunning solo: 'Of Nothing' is all too short. The half deranged, long and lean male dancer gracefully stumbles across the stage, one minute his body fully outstretched, the next crumpled in on itself, every sinew strained and visible. We'd love to see more of this.

Hagit Yakira's duet 2B probes questions of being through an abstract duet featuring herself and Takeshi Matsumoto. From the opening gambit, a game about blinking, to the last gasp, holding each others' noses as they writhe about holding their breath this is a humourous and human piece of involving dance theatre. Their text enhances the unique dance style and the two personalities shine through endearingly. Their spot of funky disco dancing is especially jubilant.

After an interval where we're urged to give all our money to Cloud Dance (we still can't believe they receive no funding and cover all costs through ticket sales) we return to a frenetic take on rush hour from Pair Dance, both strong and relentless. And an odd but bewitching finale, a work in progress from Sophia Hurdley, interprets the story of Maria Callas's doomed love affair with Aristotle Onassis through dance. An intensely emotional, yet subtle performance from Hurdley is spellbinding, articulating the pain of love lost and a career sacrificed, played out to a haunting operatic soundtrack. But this West End style extract seems somewhat out of place at the end of an otherwise eclectic and strong contemporary dance bill.

We came with no expectations but left uplifted, wanting more and eager to see where Cloud Dance Festival goes next.

 

Original review posted on http://londonist.com/2009/12/review_cloud_dance_festival.php