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Production

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Company

Quorum Ballet

Reviewer

Stephanie Burridge

Date

22/01/2008

Time

8.00pm

Place

Esplanade Theatre Studio

Rating

****

Reaching Out

If watching beautiful dancers with toned bodies that oozed training and professionalism is what you enjoy, Relations by the Portuguese group Quorum is the show to see at the M1 Fringe Festival. Choreographers/dancers/directors, Iolanda Rodrigues and Daniel Cardoso performed in two pieces, and it was simply great to watch the dancers even if the plots became rather clichéd. In fringe festivals, and in small contemporary dance companies in general, it is rare to see this quality of dancing spread evenly across six performers and no matter what themes they tackled, the detailed precision of their movement was compelling. The movement swung between tight, quirky phrases and then went into extended sections with legs reaching effortlessly into 180 degree arabesques, long lunges and slides. The programme description of the two dance pieces tells us that the choreography is about the discovery of new worlds and cultures and that it is inspired by Portuguese colonial expansion in the 15th and 16th centuries. This is a big idea to work with, and overall, the choreography was fairly mundane with a mix of standard movements, and did not meet my expectations.

The first piece began (as, I am afraid, so have several other dance works I have seen over the past few years) with "nude" (beige-underwear-clad) dancers in embryonic positions. One by one they stretch their fledgling limbs in the spotlight. These isolated segments subsequently morph into a mass as the dancers reach out to discover each other and their world. From here they discover relationships and there is a very funny segment where a female dancer laughs uncontrollably as she is being seduced by a male. The first section takes place on a light-coloured dance floor and the second moves on to the darker side of the stage denoting exploration of new worlds. Silver exercise balls that are rolled about and played with in this section denote "new worlds" and there were some interesting movement possibilities with these that could have been developed further - like the part when a dancer was caught between two of the balls and was bounced between them by two of the dancers. The dance ended abruptly for an interval, leaving the audience unclear if the second half would be a continuation of this theme or something entirely different.

The audience moved back into a completely transformed theatre that was light and bright. The second piece of the evening was more creative and lots of fun for both the dancers and the audience. The performers emerged from behind large sheets of paper that they progressively painted throughout the dance - they also painted themselves and each other, making it reminiscent of children playing with colour and enjoying splashing it all over themselves as well. In this piece there was a marvellous section where the dancers climbed all over the audience and the seating finding their way via dance movements, legs extensions and precarious balancing. It was artistically done and very exciting for the audience to see the dancers up close. There were many fun moments in this work and innovative use of the five dancers, the set, side lighting that was rolled about on wheels, and the space. The theme of multiculturalism was given a light creative touch and made a good contrast to the heavier tone of the first dance.


"If watching beautiful dancers with toned bodies that oozed training and professionalism is what you enjoy, Relations was the show to see at the M1 Fringe Festival"

Credits

Choreographers:
Iolanda Rodrigues and Daniel Cardoso

More Reviews by Stephanie Burridge

Ratings out of 5, based on Practitioner's Vision / Reviewer's Response: ***** = Transcendent / Rapturous;
**** = Crystal / Appreciative; *** = Transmitted / Thoughtful; ** = Vague / Unsatisfied; * = Uncommunicated / Mystified.