Cloud Dance Festival: Tabula Rasa
The Courtyard Theatre, N1
4 & 5 July 2008
Reviewed by Angele Spiteri Paris

Standout pieces by headliners Ffin Dance made the audience gasp through the sheer strength and beauty of the dancers conveying the artful choreography of The Cuckoo's Nest and Duetti. The concepts were clearly driven without being trite and the polished technique helped the audience melt into the world the company had created. Solos Ugly by Alice Imagines and Down by Olivia Vella demanded attention as both performers commanded the stage with artistry, passion and delicate ferocity.

Beyond Repair Dance added a fresh touch to the evenings with their execution of Cube with Magic Ribbons and the debut of their new work Temperate Pulse. The dancers were charismatic and accomplished though on the first night a slight touch of nerves broke the barrier of illusion.

Vex Dance Theatre were a welcome surprise as their piece A Long Way Down provided a witty commentary on today's workaholic lifestyle. A majority of the audience could surely identify with the young women portrayed being taken in and taken over by the large, faceless General National Bank.

Lisa Hood's piece Temell, iRONiNC's When Handel Met Salle and rancidance's Brush on Silk were all well-executed and enjoyable performances, each adding a unique touch to their time on stage.

Flappers by MIKS created a steady build up to what was essentially a whimsical, yet clever piece of work. The play of eye contact and the lack of it by the dancers with the audience was phenomenal and used to its full advantage.

Pieces by Marija Krtolica and Etta Ermini Dance Theatre brought in the world of performance art and physical theatre as both engaged the audience and further provided interaction.

Krtolica's performance Cryptomnesia was enthralling and heartfelt while the choreography in Ermini's piece left something to be desired. The concept came through and the audience seemed to enjoy it, but the lack of dance training, particularly in one of the performers, was very evident.

Project Mashed Potato and Cascade Dance exuded youth and fresh newness – the dancers were skilled, the pieces well executed overall leaving the audience satisfied.

This Mode of Flight and Monster were disappointing for different reasons. The first left the audience with empty promises of great dance and choreography. Monster, on the other hand, created some amazing tableaux but the whole thing was very staccato with the dancers jolting into each mind-bendingly awkward position.