Introducing one of our volunteer dance reviewers, Daisy Harrison:
Daisy Harrison trained at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance graduating in 2014, and then went on to study an MA in Dance Performance with Transitions Dance Company (2014/2015). She is currently working a dancer, practitioner and choreographer based in Exeter, Devon.
Review of Transitions Dance Company | by Daisy Harrison
Tuesday 1 May 2018 at Exeter Phoenix
The first work of the night was Hagit Yakira’s ‘The Ar/ct of Moving Forward’. The piece built gradually, beginning with dancers simply walking away from the audience on a loop. It felt as though we were being introduced to each individual, so it made perfect sense that this was first in the line-up. The movement and speed continued to grow until suddenly 14 bodies in space began to look and feel crowded. Dancers almost collided as their pathways overlapped, but always made a narrow escape as they began to lift one another out of the way or make unexpected pockets of unison that dissipate into the tide of movement. The whole work felt very pure in it’s intention, choreography and delivery, which was beautiful to watch. However, that purity is also very exposing. I found myself becoming hyper aware of the intention behind moments of touch between the dancers, noticing when anyone seemed on choreography autopilot or when the intention behind the movement was truly genuine. The work as a whole was delicate and hypnotic, and it was really refreshing to see each dancer’s personality and human nature shine through without that contemporary cliché ‘serious dancer mode’ kicking in.
Next up was the entirely unexpected ‘Lovers’ by Jarkko Partanen. Textured silver costumes transformed the dancers into something otherworldly, and the crackle of the clothing as the dancers moved in silence was strangely satisfying. Dancers paired off and moved repetitively, morphing into varying positions with gestures ranging from animalistic exploring of each other, to sexual positions, to a hilarious lift where limbs flailed from side to side. When the group gathered together to touch each other’s faces, they became so absorbed in one another it felt as though the audience were being closed off, which was harder to engage with. By this point it was clearer that the dancers couldn’t see much through their costumes, and I became very aware that they were having an entirely different experience to the audience throughout this performance. The work ended on a high, with a Rhianna track blasting loud through the speakers as each dancer grooved on their own. There is such a strong juxtaposition between Hagit’s humanity in ‘The Ar/ct of Moving Forward’ to the androgynous alien cyber trance of ‘Lovers’ that made it even more entertaining.
Richard Chappell’s ‘When Running Starts and Stops’ closed the show, an energetic and physical work. This piece used half of the cast, which created a feeling of expansive space on the stage compared to the previous performances and complimented the feeling of travelling or fleeing. There was a strong sense of urgency and fear throughout, dancers moved in and out of the space at speed. A duet is particularly memorable; two dancers moved together, circling like creatures carving out their territory in an animalistic display of athleticism and strength. Through the relentless pace of the piece, another stand out moment came when the group formed a pack around one dancer, responding to her shifts in level. Although one of the more simple moments of the work, I think it clearly captured the feeling of a herd mentality and was a refreshing moment to catch your breath as an audience between the high-speed virtuosic choreography. As the work began to come to an end a combination of dramatic looping movement, many quickly shifting lighting states and the sound score taking a more ominous turn led me to feel uneasy. Whatever the herd is running from doesn’t feel resolved as the piece comes to an end, leaving you thinking.
It’s unusual that as an audience we get the opportunity to see as many as 14 dancers moving together in space at the same time, and I loved that each choreographer made room for every dancer to shine as an individual within the group. Each piece was very different in style, but the three works held similar themes of interaction between the cast and togetherness as a group, which wove together well as a triple bill. Catch them if you can, Transitions Dance Company still have tour dates left in Coventry, Malta & London!
Top Image: Transitions Dance Company