Cloud Dance Festival: Parade by Lindsey Clarke


It didn't bode well that the lighting desk died just minutes before the Sunday matinee was about to begin at the People Show Studios but fortunately for Cloud Dance Festival and its sold out audience, a genius was on hand to get everything back in working order just 15 minutes over schedule. And from an inauspicious start sprang a medley of enthralling, surprising, moving and intriguing dance.

Slanjayvah Dance's sensuous tango influenced duet offers an feast of toned flesh intricately synchronised by Jenni Wren and Phil Singer. Their partnering with blindfolds is inventive, the potential hazards of such complex partner work laid - almost literally - bare. Next up, Nexus Dance's stunning solo: 'Of Nothing' is all too short. The half deranged, long and lean male dancer gracefully stumbles across the stage, one minute his body fully outstretched, the next crumpled in on itself, every sinew strained and visible. We'd love to see more of this.

Hagit Yakira's duet 2B probes questions of being through an abstract duet featuring herself and Takeshi Matsumoto. From the opening gambit, a game about blinking, to the last gasp, holding each others' noses as they writhe about holding their breath this is a humourous and human piece of involving dance theatre. Their text enhances the unique dance style and the two personalities shine through endearingly. Their spot of funky disco dancing is especially jubilant.

After an interval where we're urged to give all our money to Cloud Dance (we still can't believe they receive no funding and cover all costs through ticket sales) we return to a frenetic take on rush hour from Pair Dance, both strong and relentless. And an odd but bewitching finale, a work in progress from Sophia Hurdley, interprets the story of Maria Callas's doomed love affair with Aristotle Onassis through dance. An intensely emotional, yet subtle performance from Hurdley is spellbinding, articulating the pain of love lost and a career sacrificed, played out to a haunting operatic soundtrack. But this West End style extract seems somewhat out of place at the end of an otherwise eclectic and strong contemporary dance bill.

We came with no expectations but left uplifted, wanting more and eager to see where Cloud Dance Festival goes next.


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