Firefly was the title of this summer’s Cloud Dance Festival and it did not disappoint in talent or excitement. Held at Pleasance Theatre from the 22nd- 24th of July 2011, this event provided a much needed-platform for emerging choreographers in London. I was able to attend the first night of the festival which consisted of nine very different and original choreographies.
Just Us Dance Company opened the show with Picture Perfect, choreographed by Blueprint Bursary 2010 Winner Joseph Yvan Toonga. Performed by four dancers, this contemporary piece fluidly merged repetitions of intricate relationships, contrasted by distinct moments of separation, whilst constantly evoking the feeling of a quest for perfection.
The all-male ensemble Udifydance Company premiered their duet entitled Threads, which was choreographed by Chay Burrows and Christopher Reynolds. Set to a pulsing score by Chay Burrows, the piece was performed by one of the company’s apprentice dancers, Sam Harbour, accompanied by Christopher Reynolds, and explored a play between dynamics and rhythms which were extenuated by effortless moments of contact improvisation and spontaneous bursts of movement.
Sea of Love, choreographed and performed by Dom Czapski, offered an intense ending to the first section of the evening’s programme. Themes of human nature and the body were challenged during this solo as a bare-chested Czapski wove through the dimly-lit space, contorting his body and conjuring a feeling of vulnerability and anticipation.
Diciembre Dance Group’s Lewis After Wonderland was a duet performed by Lucía Piquero and Andrea Santato in a beautifully-structured choreography inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poem “A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky”. The dance arouses nostalgic feelings of one’s childhood, referencing themes from Alice in Wonderland, while also making you question the notion of growing up. The dancers were technically skilled and shared a sweet chemistry which was complimented by Alberto García’s original melodic score.
Thirty-Two, choreographed by Jui-Wei Hung, was a highly charged and dynamic work executed by three dancers illustrating the different connections experienced by individuals in everyday life.
Concluding the second section of the evening was Charlie Dixon Dance Company’s physically and technically demanding work Wise Man. Performed by an ensemble of five dancers, this piece was captivating and displayed the human body manipulated and pushed to its extremes.
Sol Dans Company’s Grimm Times, choreographed by Melody Squire, fused an array of styles such as physical theatre, contemporary and hip hop dance in an exciting number that depicted the struggles of individuals living in a deprived economic climate. With breathtaking lifts and balances set to a pounding dub-step inspired score, this was a refreshing insightful work.
Slanjayvah Danza presented Lunar-tic, a somewhat haunting but constantly surprising solo performed by Jenni Wren, accompanied by a rock-influenced soundtrack. The work challenged notions of freedom though extreme, energised and sporadic movements, highlighted by a single spotlight.
The final performance of the night was James Cousins Dance’s Taste Water Again, a compelling work displaying contrasting moments of harrowing chaos and tranquillity with one female dancer, Katie Lusby, at the centre of all the action. The talented cast soared through the space swiftly, performing a series of duets, solos and intricate unison phrases with ease and elegance.
Overall, Cloud Dance Festival’s Firefly exhibited some very good choreography, highlighting many new and exciting choreographers. It was a fun and accessible evening that would suit all types of theatregoers.