Transitions Dance Company, the original postgraduate dance company for Trinity Laban Conservatoire, is a long-standing opportunity for young professionals to gain company experience and bridge the stressful gap between formal training and entry into the professional world.
This cohort lacks nothing in enthusiasm and commitment to the pieces, and offered a triple bill which reflected upon their technical capacity as dancers and touched on dramatic interpretations. Presenting three works by diverse choreographers - Shang Chi Sun, Hubert Essakow and Martin Nachbar - each piece presented facets of this company’s strengths, yet still retained a particular sameness.
The opening piece, under trot, began in low lighting, the stage a raw, industrial-looking space. There was an eerie quality when David Tudor’s “Pulsers” began to thrum and the lone central dancer started to move from her crouch, sliding and contorting to the ground. Her disjointed movements seemed somewhat mechanical, and it was this flavour that permeated the rest of the piece.
Stoic and emotionally absent, this sextet of dancers moved around the space, surrendering to compelling duets and trios, but ultimately sending one another off alone. This work was technically beautiful and meditative, but without any connection really developing between the dancers, I found it somewhat lacking.
The second piece, Essakow’s Sharing Haring, was a colourful work inspired by the work of American artist Keith Haring. Using the musical works of Mike MacLennan, Jon Opstad, Pachelbel and Scarlatti, this piece opened with the promise of more “contemporary” style absence, but quickly became an example of hyperactive colour. The jelly baby-esque costumes created an exciting, moveable commentary which isolated the artist, performed by Chris Goodwin, within the piece; his observations, and occasional rendezvous with his “artworks” articulated the relationship between artist and work.
Ballet technique, systematic lines and patterns emerged within this work reminiscent of a ballet piece. Once again, duets which were created then scampered off, obviously a snapshot of existing Haring works. Most beautiful was the duet between Chris Goodwin and his purple figure friend, a human essence inherent in the interaction. Visually dynamic, this piece was musically attentive and technically sound, and interesting overall to watch.
To finish the trio of works, The Drawing Room, choreographed by Martin Nachbar, was a playful take on the domestic environment of the British family. Filled with humour and plenty of characterisation, this piece created enough drama and entertainment to complete the evening.
Demanding a different quality from the dancers, this work offered something extra to draw upon. The “family portrait”, a whimsical snapshot into the essence of this work, was well timed, with much of the hype surrounding the Queen’s Jubilee.
Conceptually diverse, this evening was an entertaining trio of works. From contemporary starkness to bold dramatisations, there was a platter of energies to immerse yourself in. Transition’s dancers are very technically promising, with the capacity to develop further depth over time. While lacking in the richness and boldness of more experienced practitioners, the prowess of these dancers is something well worth seeing.