Review: Cloud Dance Festival, Trouble & Desire

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Carlos Molina and Sebastian Hick in the publicity for “Now let me tell you about my…” by Hyanglae Jin

The first Cloud Dance Festival of 2010 presented a hugely mixed bill, featuring seven very different pieces, at Pleasance Theatre, last night. Here are our highlights:

We were excited to have the opportunity to watch Slanjavah Dance’s Blind Passion again. Choreographer, Jenni Wren is dancing with a new partner, Riccardo Meneghini. This new coupling sees this intense duet develop. Its three stages are now explicitly different in tone. The first, when mostly clothed, is flirtatious and sexy. The blindfolds come out and it’s suddenly a sensual game, testing the limits of trust but still perhaps holding back. Once finally stripped down to the bare essentials, it’s a serious business. The acrobatic and passionate interaction of the pair shows 100% trust in each other and total commitment, to the point where the risk in dancing blind, is tensely apparent.

Hyanglae Jin’s programme copy was lengthily opaque. But when two normal looking guys came on stage, one on a skateboard, one tied up in his laundry and told us a story, drew chalk pictures on the stage, carted each other around and got entangled in each other’s arms, we couldn’t help but smile and love the natural charm and absurdity of it all.

Scarlett Pedereau has been developing Spare Rib with dancers and live musicians since its debut at Cloud in 2008. The piece explores the relationship between the human body, instruments, sound and movement. 3 dancers interact and interpret the sounds made by 3 live musicians on stage. Marvellously, the musicians get involved in the movement too, game for rolling across the floor as well as having their instruments cavorted with by the dancers.

Mavin Khoo’s duet to the sumptuous love score of Romeo and Juliet sees two long legged dancers explore each other with the touching innocence and occasional awkwardness of true tween lovers. Their vocabulary is somewhere between ballet and contemporary with an elegant turned up toes twist of Mavin’s trademark classical Indian dance. This quiet Juliet is less shy than her Romeo, touchingly lifting her virginal chiffon skirts for Romeo to slide under at the denouement.

Cloud Dance Festival returns 16-18 July with ‘Hush’ at the Cochrane Theatre, Holborn.

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