Sunday 6 July

A quarterly contemporary dance platform open to both emerging and established dance companies, the July Cloud Dance Festival offered its “largest and most ambitious line up yet”.
The atmosphere at The Courtyard Theatre on a warm Sunday night was made even steamier in the small theatre space brimming with a lively audience there to see the latest in contemporary dance. And this year’s festival, entitled Tabula Rasa, did not fail to deliver.

“A true variety of pieces” was promised and provided with a showcase of short pieces that were both exciting and contemplative. The night began with two pieces, Elemental Magic (Shine On) and Once You’re Gone that weren’t exactly meaty but were touching in their innocence and tenderness, particularly the latter.

It was unclear what the two Cloud Dance pieces were portraying but White Score held up thanks to the quality of dancers and working relationships between the group. Then there were the lighter performances of the evening. King Bee (Cann Dance) did not succeed in making me laugh nor did it display much dancing talent though it did break up the tone of the evening. Love For Sale (Molina Dance Theatre) was thick in the heart of the clichéd world of internet and speed dating but maintained interest with its passionate dancers and gaudy moves.

The contemplative pieces were unfortunately too long to maintain audience attention though not to the discredit of the dancers of Black Bird Muse (White Wall Dance) and After All I Am Too You (Werks Art) who were completely absorbed in their pieces; the soloist in particular holding great poise. The abstract piece, Bad Timing was executed well; jagged and mad at times but too empty and intellectual at others. Temmell (Lisa Hood) finished off the night as a dynamic and abstract piece with the engaging use of live sound produced on stage.

Left feeling totally satiated and sweaty hot after such a talented and dynamic showcase, the night was well executed with changes in pace and theme and an inspiring quality of collaborative dance.

- Emma Stevenson