Sexuality is to the fore in two new works from American choreographers, Kate Weare and Benjamin Levy, marking the 25th anniversary of Scottish Dance Theatre at the Place.
Fittingly, the programme opens with a party on stage. It's a high energy start with Nouvelle Vague on the stereo for Lay Me Down Safe by Kate Weare. Five male and three female dancers are all dressed in tunics, instantly raising a gendered sub-plot. The piece examines relationships through forceful and technical abstract movement. Gestures, partnering, rhythmic movement and fluid hips explore sexuality. It's all sensual, curving pelvises and aggressive harsh lines, creating a compelling sense of disjuncture. The dancers' technical prowess is enticing, yet the more sensitive and subtle moments between them are occasionally lost in such a small space.
Khaos, choreographed by Benjamin Levy is another technically challenging work. Levy’s movement is more fluid and off-kilter than Weare’s, however the pieces share a topical thread, with sexuality pushed to the foreground. Tightly structured, the work has a soothing sense of evolution. However, a cloud above the dancers' heads plots to disturb their flow, expands into a threatening mass and eventually engulfs them.
New American dance is not often presented in London. Both choreographers display talent for highly structured and rhythmical movement, embodying the traditions of American modernism. Meanwhile the dancers of Scottish Dance Theatre show why the company is so successful. With Janet Smith’s creative direction and a team of professional and technically remarkable dancers, no doubt SDT will be celebrating again in another 25 years.
By Hetty Blades
Have a look at SDT's YouTube channel for clips.