80 Collective – Second Year Strong

by Elizabeth Jane
(London, UK)

Alys and Charlie performing To Suit

Alys and Charlie performing To Suit

80 Collective presents Pitch 2016 as part of Lift Off Festival.
Pitch is a platform for emerging dance artists to perform and present their own works. 80 Collective consists of Luke Brown, Ashley Hind and Ellie James, and on Wednesday 4th May they produced the second program of Pitch 2016.

120 mins
at The South Hill Park arts Centre, Ringmead, Bracknell

Choreographer: Luke Brown in collaboration with the performers
Performers: Brakendale Dance and Berkshire County Dance Company Youth
Music: Dieu and Excavation (Part 2) by The Haxan Cloak

Hail was deservedly the curtain raiser for the evening. Well-executed, stunning contact and dynamic patterns made me question whether these dancers were really from youth companies and not in fact professionals. Luke Brown created a work filled with vitality and precision, using his own signature style. The brooding and animalistic mood formed a strong scene for the dancers to flow seamlessly from solos, duets to ensembles, their audible breath informing their timing with each other. Although beautiful, this timing did become predictable, some dynamic variations would add some depth. These youth dancers impressed us all by confidently performing challenging lifts and motifs, whilst always remaining silent and swift on their feet.

Counter Tensions
Choreographer: Zoe Georgallis and Matt Gordon
Dancer: Zoe Georgallis
Musician: Matt Gordon
Music: Counter Tensions by Matt Gordon
Filming: Ryan Kinsella and Brendan Little

A contemporary dance gem. Zoe Georgallis performs an authentic, researched and in-depth exploration into synchronisation and symmetry. I enjoy that I am not being patronised as an audience member, no flashy moves or tricks are used to draw me in. Both Matt Gordon and Zoe have fully embodied the concept, their intent is all that is needed to make me watch and remain curious. Matt creates a sound scape for Zoe and her projected self live on stage, at first the dance and music seem disconnected, but as both develop they find more moments of synchronicity and balance, so by the end the two are indivisible. It is refreshing to see a genuine connection between musician and dancer, however the recording of Zoe's movements on a studio floor sound arduous and heavy, jarring the effortless grace we are seeing on stage.
Zoe and a filmed projection of herself in the same simple black outfit create floor patterns and movement shifts that oppose, complement and sync with each other. Having seen an earlier sketch of Counter Tensions, it is great to see the development of Zoe's movement vocabulary, every single move is precise and sharp, every hand and foot angle was thought of and her control is stunning. The work as a whole feels complete and rounded, I find myself feeling satisfied as I applaud them both at the end – like I've just worked out a math’s equation.

No Corners
Choreographer: Rachel Lum
Performers: Jeryl Lee, Rachel Lum and Zhou Yi Ru
Music: Lullys Turqueri as interpreted by an advanced script by Murcof. Ultimatum by Murcof. Elephant Rose by Rene Aubry.
Filming: Khairulhakim

If a cup of Joe could make me dance like these 3 girls, I'd be resident at my local coffee shop. This dynamic trio explores ways of seeking comfort, with particular focus on drinking our daily cup(s) of coffee. No Corners was very succinct, complex and engaging. Starting with their backs to us, each wearing a dark blue playsuit, their movement begins with an industrial edge to it, weaving between each other with their well-rehearsed upper-body phrasing. As the piece develops, the dancers transform from petite girls, into a well-oiled machine, swapping between roles, sometimes being the antagonist, leader or passive performer. This allows intricate contact to evolve almost seemingly from nowhere, as it is never obvious who will be lifted, swung or carried next. I was delighted when 2 white couches (on stage from the beginning), began to be incorporated into the dance – Rachel Lum displayed her choreographic ability by using them in such a way that the trio simply turned into a quintet comprised of 3 girls and 2 couches. The work remained loyal to it's theme, whilst allowing a flow of imagination to take the audience on
a journey, the tallest dancer especially drew me in with her beautiful combination of fluidity and extension of limbs. No Corners wrapped up by using and repeating motifs associated with coffee drinking – this was enforced with the use of a projection of the dancers performing an aggressive coffee drinking gestural phrase (cleverly projected onto the ends of the couches). The music choices were well thought out, changing subtly to reflect mood changes occurring on stage, however, the piece could be developed further if the dancers developed their own dynamic timing, so as to not follow the beat so stringently, as this made the movement predictable. I hope No Corners continues to develop into a longer work.

Remembrance (film)
Choreographers: Claudia Scaringela and Brandon Clarke
Performers: Claudia Scaringela and Brandon Clarke
Music: Johnny Guitar by Peggy Lee. Amado Mio by Rita Hayworth. Tom Tom Swing Combo by Hilary Thaddeus.
Filming: Dan Williams

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Remembrance was presented as a film instead of live. Regrettably, this only made an undeveloped choreography appear even more amateur. The filming itself was unprofessional; at points we could see the videographers shadow, the camera was shaky, and the angles were not considered. The setting was a poor choice – why perform a love duet in a regular dance studio? the setting did not match and detracted from the dance. I felt the costume too was not thoughtful; having the labels of the clothing visible is distracting for the eye, as is having a hole in Claudia's shorts. Claudia Sacringela and Brandon Clarke are good dancers, but the choreography was simple, clichéd, with an unclear message.

Burnt Norton
Choreographer: Richard Chappell Dance
Dancer: Richard Chappell
Music: Burnt Norton by Samuel Hall.

“Based on...getting lost with oneself.” Inspired by T.S. Eliot's Poem, Burnt Norton. A beautiful place to start exploring your own movement and choreography, however it is important to remember your audience if you intend to perform your exploration. Richard Chappell has not done this fully enough, I do not feel invited into his dance, and it is difficult to find connection with him or his message. The movement itself is well executed and Richard is obviously a skilled dancer, revealing great core control and use of the whole stage. I particularly enjoyed the floor work mid-way through the piece. Ultimately however, I felt the work was monotonous, unformed, and would benefit from feedback sessions.

To Suit
Choreographer: Lizzie J Klotz
Dancers: Alys North and Charlie Dearnley
Music: Bu Son Olsun by Cem Karaca. Already Gone by Yann Tiersen. Concerto N°5 en Ré majeur BWW 1050 (I. Allegro), Original Score by Johann Sebastian Bach with Recording by Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

I thoroughly enjoyed To Suit, a perfect way to end a great platform by 80 Collective. Lizzie J Klotz managed to perfect the tricky balance of theatre and dance, creating a genuinely humorous work whilst still choreographing complex and beautiful dancing. Charlie Dearnley opens the piece standing, facing the audience, performing a gestural phrase using all his energy and facial expression to try and communicate to us. It immediately draws us in and lightens the mood, cleverly making us a receptive audience. Alys North enters wearing a 50's dress, appearing to prepare the space for guests, she drops and throws clothes seamlessly from her arms as she dances, and it is captivating. As music begins the couple commence dancing together, clearly expressing love and happiness, shown most prominently when they swing confidently around each other holding on to the back of the neck. I felt like everything was considered, even the left over clothes scattered on the stage added frisson...will they slip? The dance becomes ever more playful, and we start to see animal courtship rituals, as well as the pure joy of the two dancers expressing themselves. Lizzie does challenge them and we are treated to a frantic and frenetic duo of courting sounds: monkey hoots, heavy breathing, smooches, 'yes'yes, 'oi'oi'oi'. Alys and Charlie deliver this superbly, with confidence and professionalism, allowing us to believe them entirely and force us to take the burden of embarrassment. To Suit was fun, elaborate, mature, matched it's blurb and just plain made me want to dance. I cannot wait to see what Lizzie creates next.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Jane. Wednesday 4th May 2016.

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