Cloud Dance Festival runs 3 times a year, moving from venue to venue to try to reach as many different communities as possible with the provision of a platform for professional and innovative contemporary dance. The next instalment from them will be Hush at Cochrane Theatre, in Holborn, 16th-18th July, so don’t miss out! Led by director Chantal Guevara, they never fail to present a varied selection of work that ensures there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

The second night of the festival started and concluded with the same dancer – Lucía Piquero, who is a choreographer in her own right but has chosen to take a year “off” and is instead dancing for other companies. In the first piece, entitled No sense? Nonsense!, choreographer WooJung Kim of SuperB Dance Theatre has stripped Lucía of the use of her legs. Whilst this piece was dramatically poignant and heartrending with striking lighting design, I would have preferred to see it performed by an actual disabled artist, of which there are many talented ones to choose from, and through whom the exploration of movement without the use of legs could possibly have been more creative.

Nonetheless, the pain and loss of such circumstances are expressed beautifully and the final image of the dancer having tied her pointe shoe to a chair for stability is one that remains embedded in the heart for some time afterwards.

Cascade Dance treated us to an audio-visual spectacle in their production Journey’s Bound. Based on travel experiences and a search for what is ‘home’, this piece was touchingly real and allowed us a sense of having gone on a journey of our own with the dancers.

Jui-Wei Hung’s Love Me Again was a raw and endearing solo in which she begs to be loved. The piece is well developed and performed, and coming just before the first interval, it left us hungry for more.

Taciturn, working with choreographer Lisi Perry, provided us with Grapple which was so energetic the audience almost felt out of breath just watching them. From start to finish this 15 minute piece was filled with clockwork acrobatics and an inordinate amount of running, jumping, and throwing each other about the stage. As always with this company, the personalities of the dancers are hard to repress and within the choreography was room for a bit of fun between the characters which was very refreshing.

Ffin Dance performed for the second night in a row with an extract of a longer work, Sweetheart Roland, based on the story by The Brothers Grimm but given a new life by choreographer Sue Lewis. This piece was sharp-edged and sassy, with a clear narrative and some really beautiful musicality.

Slanjayvah Danza’s Blind Passion - Live Cut was back by popular demand, and it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular – Jenni Wren’s choreography is performed by dancers who gradually shed their clothing to near-nakedness and at the same time they blindfold themselves, resulting in the most vulnerable situation a person can be in. Through this challenge they perform daring and complex movements, which would be technically difficult and spectacular acts for any non-blindfolded dancer, as well as keeping hold of raw sensuality with which they interact and intertwine. Stunningly beautiful and breathtakingly expressive.

Morgann Runacre-Temple’s Shrewlands was a stunning piece of work, which danced around the lighting design, dividing the stage in sections and providing flashes of movements, snippets of sequences, before the dancers snap into blackout and another story begins elsewhere on the stage. With a strong design element embedded within the piece this was an engaging performance by a company to watch out for.

The evening concluded with the headliner act, Mavin Khoo’s Amour, based on the story of Romeo & Juliet. Mavin Khoo’s choreography, using modern ballet technique, explored the emotions and vulnerability of the most famous young lovers. Lucía Piquero’s Juliet was soft and feminine, and Riccardo Vitello’s Romeo was manly yet uncertain of himself. Together their hesitant approaches across the space that was separating them lead into ever more confident contact and the tenderness of the movement expressed the depth of feeling in the well-known story.

Reviewed by Debbie Shine for Cloud Dance Festival