Introducing one of our volunteer dance reviewers, Hannah Cook:
I am currently studying BA(hons)Dance Theatre at Plymouth University. Prior to this, my training mostly consisted of classical ballet, until beginning contemporary dance alongside A-Level Dance at my Sixth Form in Cornwall. Completing my A-Level in Dance sparked my interest in exploring Dance as a career. I hope to explore this interest with Dance in Devon, as well as to further my love of watching live dance performances.
Review of Genius | Anjali Dance Company, by Hannah CookWednesday 25th October, The House, Plymouth University
Wednesday’s performance at The House, Plymouth, saw Anjali Dance
Company perform two pieces. The performance consisted of ‘Bloodsuckers’
which, after a short interval, was followed by ‘Beethoven’.
It was evident from the very beginning of the double bill performance that
each dancer held strong performance skills, including huge emotive range and
an uninhibited boldness in their presentations of character. These abilities
served the performers incredibly well within choreography that challenged
neither dancer nor audience.
The first piece (Bloodsuckers) consisted of repetitive choreography with a
predictable choreographic framework. Within this, the performers were
allotted next to no time to show and explore their own individual movement
and creativity, as well as being given extremely limited space to perform in.
Despite this, all of the performers shone through with their spectacular
‘Beethoven’ took a more narrative and literal approach to its structure. The
piece used a narrator-style soundtrack, as well as using classical music
throughout to give an almost episodic feel. Here, the dancers’ technical
abilities were shown; Each dancer showed confident portrayals of character
whilst also highlighting their competence with dance movement (particularly
evidenced in the small pieces of solo material).
In conclusion, Anjali Dance Company dancers showed their capabilities across a
range of skills. However, the choreography and staging did not challenge them
intellectually, physically, or creatively. As a company which aims to “empower”
its dancers with learning disabilities to be individual dance artists, I feel that
they fell short of this aim; The choreography across both pieces was repetitive
and literal. As a result, it did not encourage its dancers (or myself as an
audience member) to look for intention and meaning beyond the physical
movement. I feel as though I would have been able to share a greater
connection with the dancers if I had been able to see each dancer as their own
person, rather than the choreography using its dancers as puppets to
Top Image: Anjali Dance Company