Wednesday, 25 April 2018

STAGE REVIEW - MICHAEL CLARK COMPANY at Birmingham Repertory Theatre


to a simple rock 'n' roll...song

REVIEW ****

One thing I’ve noticed since the millennium crossover is that people move differently when dancing. Whether it is choreographed (or freestyle) everything was a little looser once upon a time. Weight was distributed from leg-to-leg to the musical rhythms and arms would be pushing out; away from the body. Staged performances in recent years are more controlled, the elbow and the knee joints have joined the party, limbs are angled and travel in the same direction to the beat. Movement is still repetitive but it’s cleverer. Rock and pop might have taken a dive in recent years but contemporary dance has become a wonderful fusion of different music genres and it is very ‘here and now’ not just on-stage, but at parties and in clubs and dance classes; within the fitness industry as well as peoples’ living rooms

DANCERS: HARRY ALEXANDER AND BENJAMIN WARBIS.
Photograph by Hugo Glendinning

Establishing that dance has gone through a renaissance in recent times and acknowledging too, that ‘to a simple, rock ‘n’ roll . . . song’ delivered by eight fabulously fit and highly skilled dancers: choreographed by Michael Clark, is celebration of all of that. Here we very much see the classical elements are the glue to performances; and though style (and substance) is still key, perhaps it is little less about grace nowadays, and more, much more, about an arresting kind of intensity that robotic dance moves can lay better claim to. 

The carefully selected music by French avant-garde composer and pianist, Erik Satie; by Patti Smith incl. Horses, and by David Bowie incl. Blackstar makes it all rather special. 

It is not rock ‘n’ roll like the title suggests, but, along with the complementing visuals and skin-tight suits, it is a mesmerising and rather marvellous thing to experience.


Dancers:
Harry Alexander
Nicholas Bodych
Sophie Cottrill
Kieran Page
Oxana Panchenko
Rowan Parker
Alice Tagliento
Benjamin Warbis

I (Debra Hall) attended The Birmingham Repertory Theatre in a press capacity on 24 April 2018  to review  'to a simple rock 'n' roll...song'  by Michael Clark Company  


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