Rosie Kay Dance Company Review

Rosie Kay Dance Pic

Guest blog from Jennifer Thomas: A Gallery assistant/struggling artist/dangerous cyclist who loves curries

After witnessing what can only be described as a superhuman performance in night one of Dep Arts/Northern Ballet’s Spring season line-up, I was more than a little intrigued to see what they had to offer up next – the bar was high, but Rosie Kay Dance Company delivered.

Asylum stems from Kay’s own personal crisis in which she came to question her own identity and also from her research into refugees seeking asylum in this country. The male/female duet (Chris Vann and Manon Greiner) reveals a narrative whereby one battles to find their identity. I was struck by the power of story-telling, the externalisation of internal feeling through body language and facial expression; we are let into the minds of these refugees, feeling their confusion, their struggle and ultimately their strength. It is a turbulent journey presenting you with a bewildering array of emotions. To start we see the duo entwined, loaded with stuffed white carrier bags their bodies fight to break out, arms flailing, they try to escape each other. The piece builds and develops, eventually climaxing in an erratic display of bodies convulsing violently, arms and limbs thrashing wildly and a mash-up of tunes perfectly emulating the psychological state of confusion and disorder. Holding each other in darkness, the performance comes to a close.

Unlike Asylum, this second performance, entitled Double Points: K is not centred on human experience and emotion; instead it presents us with an existentialist vision, about everything and nothing. Double Points: K is a reinterpretation of Dutch/Italian choreographer Emio Greco’s acclaimed Double Points: Two. Kay not only choreographs, but performs, alongside Chris Linda in this high energy duet of pure, breathtaking contemporary dance. In a vibrant score which fuses Electronica, Dub Step and Bach Concerto in A Minor we are treated to a range of movement from contemporary ballet to shuddering robotic movement. Slipping between light and dark, old and new, Double Points: K plays with the identities and associations of music with dance. It begins with a single strip of light cutting diagonally across the stage with Kay and Linda tip-toeing into vision. They move as if they shared one mind and two bodies, in perfect synchronicity and structure. The physical demand of this dance cannot be understated, and is visibly evident from the heavy breathing we hear in small respites of a clock ticking. A nice reminder that they are human after all.

Rosie Kay considers herself not a theatre director, but a choreographer – and it shows. In the past I’ve felt slightly disconnected as an audience member, particularly in large-scale productions, not so here, I was completely captivated from beginning to end. Perhaps it was the physical proximity you have to the dancers in the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre, witnessing every muscle twitch and bead of sweat. More likely though, it was the sheer brilliance of Kay’s choreography, and the incredible ability of the dancers to convey her vision so clearly.

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