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Company Dance Theatre's 26th Season: Technically Sound, Emotionally Weak
Robyn Stephenson | Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
The Company Dance Theatre has often impressed audiences with their admirable technique and unflinching ability to meet their artistic director's choreographic challenges. The 26th Season was no different, with the execution of powerful lifts, leaps and lunges that were scattered throughout the programme. But Company fell short of making an emotional connection with their audience; the alternating smiles and stern expressions felt static in comparison to the dynamic music and choreography and with the exception of a few dancers the energy of their movements never left the stage because the dancers didn't have enough eye contact with the audience.
One year on from their silver jubilee which showcased mainly remounted works, The Company Dance Theatre returned with three brand new pieces in their six-dance show from artistic director Tony Wilson, company member Renee McDonald and guest choreographer Liane Williams.
The evening started with "Rebirth", a dance in six movements featuring a solo by Lindsey Lodenquai. Lodenquai stood out, not only because of her technical prowess but because of her engaging stage presence.
'The Freeborn' by choreographer Liane Williams marked an obvious departure from Wilson's customary style, and added lovely nuances to what would have been a strictly Company-esque production. The easy swagger of hip-hop and reggae contrasted well with sharp, staccato movements but the aptly titled dance proved a little too 'free' for some dancers who still retained elements of their more controlled Wilson-styled modern dance training.
Without a doubt, the most intriguing performance of the night was Renee McDonald's 'Divulgence', an all female piece costumed in full black against a black backdrop which portrayed the twin demons of insecurity and and loneliness which sometimes plague us. The emotions were accentuated by harsh, intense movements as dancers emanated accusation and fear and grabbed at each others throats. 'Divulgence' stood out for its fourth wall-breaking rush to the edge of the stage where the dancers sat, shouting unintelligibly, and it climaxed in a cathartic release of sound and feeling. The emotional intensity that the young choreographer managed to coax from her dancers was particularly impressive.
The season also included 'Viajeros', a remounted duet by Peter Bosch which featured Rochelle Kamicka and Steven Cornwall. The dance was however, disappointing as despite the dramatic theme from Cirque du Soleil as their music, the dancers needed greater chemistry and failed to deliver sufficient emotion to take the dance to its full potential.
The evening also included 'Panorama' another dance in six movements, which brought the event to a close. Despite the lengthy routine, the dancers made a noticeable effort to project their enthusiasm off the stage. Panorama's magnificently colourful costumes added to the aesthetic quality of the performance which featured acapella spirituals and music by Grace Jones among others.
The Company's 2014 season was staged November 22 and 23 at the Little Theatre in Kingston.