Cloud Dance Festival ‘Showtime’
Saturday 16th November 2013
By Josie Phelps


Anne- Gaelle Thiriot’s ‘Vertigos’ was a work with a pure aura. She reflects truthfulness through conceptual dance by using an intertextuality of linen and raw movement. ‘Vertigos’ speaks to the inner child of the spectator as we travel through her movement embryo that triggers a stange sense of meditation. Her soul creates its own motion within the piece which questions our perception of reality.

Simfra Dance Company’s ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ evoked empowerment within the physical grasp of two men. The upbeat rhythm and slick contemporary energy was very emotionally moving. However the piece has a low atmosphere as we gain an insight into the message these well-trained dancers signify. The grace of the movement has a fearful relationship with the social and political barriers it breaks. It stirs masculinity and raises the question ‘what makes a man?’

Moon’ by Quirk immediately irritates the audience. It makes you want to scratch the freckles of your skin for any dirt traceable. The retro ideal of a tramp with a boom box draws upon stereotypes we impose upon the less fortunate, (illustrated by Mikkel Svak through these immediate sensations created in a viewer). Despite the mental groans this hobo upon a suburb forms, a beautiful fire within the eye is created. Real skill is portrayed within Mikkel’s serenade. The lighter details in his projection and swerves of his technique portray a genuine spark of inspiration that spring from darkness.

Declan Whitaker Dance’s ‘Duet’ incorporates a precise connection between both individuals concerning timing. The music envelopes the dance and forms a deep movement communication. Each dancer’s body becomes the mirror image of the other; the expression is cut into scissor like clarity and perfection.

Seven minutes to watch ‘The State In Between’ by Mbulelo Ndabeni is certainly not enough. Much more time should be dedicated for such a subculturally-savoured choreographer. The way he blends elements of classical ballet and richness of soul into his work is powerful and unique. Thriving with grand body language that speaks of individual heritage and identity, he very cleverly creates a relaxed yet innovative composition, which speaks to the last person picked for the team; and raises their spirit high up.

Funnily enough, ‘February 11th 1963’ by Joelene English was the piece I anticipated most upon arrival. However, during the performance I was very shaken up. It is undoubtedly a darker thread of an embodied aspect that expresses the deep emotive power of performance, and indeed art. The ‘Old school’ set is definitely outgrown by Wayne Summerbell, who, as Sylvia Plaths’ estranged husband, thankfully provides a slight lift of pressure and some grounded pull from the demonic portrayal of suicide. Robotic isolations of the body appear out of the blue in Joelene; stumbles and draggings of the leg are witnessed in a possessed show. The tension of the piece continually increases as her disembodiedment remains in focus, and a frightening pair of eyes haunts the viewer as the sound of a grandfather clock ticks. English drew a very powerful work, none the less.

Wolfpack’ by John Ross Dance brought copious gratefulness of spirit to the finale of the evening at Cloud Dance Festival. Thank God for the hairy man. In all honesty, a classical piss take of youthful culture is never unappreciated in all ages, race and gender. It takes a timeless quality to impact on the humour of an audience in such a participatory way. Laddish incentives, without fail, question the notion of a ‘Wolf’, and what it is to be a ‘Boy’. John Ross Dance will without a doubt stop you in your tracks. It breaks through the realm of prestige and instead creates an arse-slappingly unforgettable 21 minutes of tear-welling enjoyment.