Introducing one of our volunteer dance reviewers, Jazmine Watts-Moast:
I graduated from Falmouth University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in dance and performance. Since graduating I have been pursuing a dance career as a freelance dance practitioner teaching and performing within the South West of England.
Review of Autobiography | Company Wayne McGregor
by Jazmine Watts-Moast
Friday 21 September 2018 at Northcott Theatre Exeter.
Wayne McGregor is arguably the most well-known and accomplished contemporary dance choreographer of our time. He has been awarded a CBE, opened up his own creative hub in London, choreographed for The Royal Ballet, been given many awards for his work and has been choreographing for 25 years.
When I saw that McGregor’s company were coming to Exeter with his new piece ‘Autobiography’; a piece to archive the past 25 years of performance, I HAD to see it. I have studied McGregor’s practice throughout my own professional training and have always found it fascinating. His style is experimental; he is explorative of the body and what it can do, not afraid to show the ‘ugly’, always incorporates unusual and innovative set design collaborating with architects, visual artists, lighting designers and musicians whilst also thinking in a very different way, bringing a scientific approach and way of thinking to his choreography and how he works with his dancers. Being aware of McGregor’s previous works and style I was excited to see what would unfold on stage.
As the opening scene came to light, I could see a structure hung on the ceiling which was made up of 3D cage pyramids. These structures moved up and down, impending on the dancers- in one section coming completely low to the floor forcing the dancers to glide and crawl underneath, which was really exciting to watch and also to see how the dancers would use and be challenged by this. This
structure brought a really interesting element to the piece. It made the stage smaller, more compact and could create different atmospheres. I already knew the dancers would have impeccable technique, as McGregor often works with classically trained dancers and ballerinas, and these dancers were no exception. The audience were guided through different sections, with the change
of the pyramids, lighting and sound. Though the set itself would change, there was not much difference in the movement. McGregor’s main components seem to be deep 4th plies, high leg kicks and undulation in the spine- which we saw a lot of and by the time the ending scene came, I was more interested to see a difference in pace.
There was many really exciting elements to this piece, but as a dancer who graduated 2 years ago, I’m interested in seeing more, something different. I want to see the dancers have a voice. I think gone are the days of traditional dance and movement where we are watching bodies on stage just for the sake of watching them move. I want more meaning, I want more power. I can appreciate all
of the art and what has gone into this and the rest of Mcgregor’s work, but not much has changed over the 25 years of his practice and this piece alliterated that. Contemporary dance is revolutionising into something different, something that is moving away from this stereotypical, old school kind of choreography, and I for one, am welcoming this change.
Top Image: Company Wayne McGregor