|Knots, performed by Lucie Augeai and David Gernez|
The Dance Roads network has been touring contemporary work from establishing choreographers around Europe for a few years now (the network itself was set up in 1990). The aim of the tour is to allow artists from partner countries to be seen by new audiences in European countries that they might not normally visit, and consequently dance fans from these countries get the opportunity to see work from different cultures.
This year's three-week tour brought together choreographers from Wales, Italy, France, Holland and Romania, and the Dance Roads festival was presented to audiences in Bordeaux, Turin, Bucharest and Arnhem before finishing up at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. Audiences reacted in different ways to different works as the tour progressed, but one thing was common - the artists' passion for innovative work.
|Jefta Tanate in Yonder|
Tanate is naked for the entire 25-minute piece. His movements begin jerkily, tentatively, slowly growing and learning until there is more confidence and size in the performance. The lighting is stark, illuminating Tanate's muscular form creatively so that the entire body is rarely seen at once, and the dancer occasionally becomes ambiguous. The lighting is key to the success of Yonder, as Tanate swings precariously from stage lamps (a life-giving sun, perhaps?), and later in the piece, rapid strobe lighting picks out the tumbling figure in staggered snapshots, rather like a zoetrope. This has the unsettling effect of a horror film, with Tanate juddering and flashing across the stage.
There's also a section where Tanate spins round with increasing speed, and it was hard to tell if he was spotting or not. I don't think he was, or maybe he was skilled enough not to show it, but the end result was a heart-in-mouth escalation of circling, whirling action reminiscent of an out-of-control Vitruvian Man. Tanate has astonishing balance and control which allows this choreography to soar.
Yonder is a study in time, its passage and effect as well as its cyclical nature. The piece ends similarly to how it begins, with Tanate in a final embryonic crunch, like a germinating seedling.
|Albert Garcia in Of the Earth, from|
Where I Came
This is an accomplished, nuanced and utterly beguiling piece in which the solo performer becomes an animalistic creature, sprouting from the earth, then wheeling and cavorting through the freedom of life upon the earth, and finally returning to the earth from whence it came as death takes hold. Garcia, a graduate of the Conservatori Superior de Dansa in Barcelona, is phenomenal here, lithe and agile, embodying nature and contorting in ways I didn't think were possible (but then, I sit at a laptop and moan for a living; Albert simply flies!).
|Claudia Catarzi's Qui, Ora|
|Lay(ers) by Cristina Lilienfeld|
Choreographer: Jasper van Luijk
Music: Jasper van Luijk
Performer: Jefta Tanate
Of the Earth, from Where I Came
Choreographer: Gwyn Emberton
Music: Benjamin Talbott
Performer: Albert Garcia
Choreographers: Lucie Augeai and David Gernez
Music: Marin Marais, Aphex Twin, Jordi Savall
Performers: Lucie Augeai and David Gernez
Choreographer: Claudia Catarzi
Music: Johnny Cash, Spartaco Cortesi
Performers: Claudia Catarzi
Choreographer: Cristina Lilienfeld
Music: Brian Eno, Portishead
Performer: Cristina Lilienfeld
Performed at Chapter, Cardiff, on June 7 to 8, 2016. Performance reviewed: June 7, 2016
Dance Roads website (retrieved Jun 10 2016)
Dance Roads on Chapter website (retrieved Jun 10 2016)
Gwyn Emberton website (retrieved Jun 10 2016)
Jasper van Luijk website (retrieved Jun 10 2016)
Compagnie Adequate website (retrieved Jun 10 2016)
Cristina Lilienfeld website (retrieved Jun 10 2016)