Pros: This showcase is fun, varied, and a great way to sample different styles of dance.
Cons: Two hours of no dialogue could be hard on traditional theatre fans.
C-12 Dance Theatre brings its showcase of up and coming choreographers to The Space this month, with two weeks of new works. I attended week one, featuring four 15-20 minute pieces, while week two will feature two fuller pieces and several “dance shorts”. I must say I’ve never considered myself much of a dance fan, and confess the last dance theatre I saw was nearly six years ago, so I’m no expert on the subject. That said, I can’t recommend Emerge 13 enough! The production’s goal is to give emerging choreographers a run in London to get their work and name out there, and each choreographer did an excellent job of creating relatable and visually stimulating work. I’m willing to bet that week two will bring the same innovation.
The evening began with Me, Me, Me… & You! choreographed and performed by Charlene Low and Laura Dajao. The piece followed two competing dancers – one of whom was in a wheelchair. The use of the wheelchair in the choreography was incredibly interesting, and a great way to start the evening – audiences can see that from right off the bat the experience of Emerge 13 will be unique and interesting. Low and Dajao used comedy expertly, and told a diverse and fascinating story with their bodies.
Following this was Shaun Dillion’s haunting work, Rise. Laced with angst and pain, Dillon seemed to be experimenting with combining halting movements with fluid ones, and the result was a complex and emotional journey. I did feel at times that this piece ran a little long, but this might be my own prejudice for needing dialogue to stimulate my attention, and still I fully enjoyed the contrast between frustration and grace within his choreography.
After a short interval came Reanne Harris’s innovative Can I Play?. I honestly loved this piece, as the dancers used children’s toys as props for their choreography – everything from a bouncing cow, to bags of balls, to a particularly brilliant sequence with wheeled toddler walkers. This piece incorporated a fascinating idea about the meaning of play, discovery, and improvisation.
Emerge13 concludes with John Ross’s Wolfpack. Imagine the film The Hangover converted into dance theatre and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. What’s so interesting about this piece is its complete unexpectedness and irreverence. To imagine four men’s raunchy night out as artistic dance might be a bit galling before you watch, but Ross handles his subject matter with humor, irony, and finishes it with a surprising conclusion. I can’t recount the whole thing, but I can tell you there was a segment of the piece devoted to urinal habits, and it was brilliant.
All four pieces stood strongly on their own right, and together made up a diverse, highly entertaining and stimulating evening. As a viewer generally biased toward dialogue-heavy plays – I’ve always said my love of the theatre is about seeing words brought to life – I admit I was a bit anxious about sitting through a dance performance, but I was entirely wrong to be. Emerge 13 was an incredibly worthwhile experience all around, and to be able to support up and coming artists and be a part of the platform in which they have a chance to get their name out is such a unique and rewarding opportunity.
Producer: C-12 Dance Theatre
Box Office: 020 7515 7799
Booking Link: https://space.org.uk/event-booking/?event=emergeweek2
Booking Until: 16th November 2013