Review for Londonist
Fabulous but too long. Funny but with little to say. Wonderful singers.
Lovely to see SYTYCD stars on stage but nagging suspicion that Shoes is like an overextended group dance from the show.
Now, off to read what everyone else though (including her with the mobile phone light grrrr).
I’m not one for copious notes. I prefer to watch what I’m there to review with a companion who’ll bounce ideas off me after, over a glass of wine after (or two, then maybe down the late night bar…) I perfected the “art” of scrawling notes in the dark in at Resolution! where each night 3 pieces of dance would pass before my eyes, some of it bad beyond belief, occasionally some of it really interesting and excellent. Without fail I’d get home with some pages of benighted script but that paired with my memory of what I’d seen and the emotions it had evoked would get me to a set of concise words that would respectably represent what had gone on and offer a valid opinion.
Never once did I need to use my mobile phone as an emergency light source so I could scribble continuously throughout a performance, making note of each change of scene and movement, rustling my pages as I went.
Yes, this is what the reviewer sat next to me at Sadlers Wells did tonight. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t Clement Crisp or anyone who could reasonably claim they were writing the most important critique of all time. The person on the other side of her had the gumption to say ‘do you mind, that’s really distracting’ and yet the offender paid no heed. There’s a reason you’re asked to turn your mobile phone off at performances and it’s not just about the ringtone (although, inevitably, there was one of those going off too).
I relinquished my first circle press seat at the interval and went and sat at the back of the stalls instead. It was the right move.
Been messing about with poems lately and rediscovered something I wrote 5 years ago when I was fiddling with villanelles. I’ve always thought it’s good practice to write to strict rules before breaking them, freestyle like. But I was clearly a tad frustrated with the severe demands of the villanelle and resorted to the ease of the 5, 7, 5 no rhyme necessary form:
Villanelle, your form
Is inspirational, but
A pain in the arse
Despite promising myself I would have a lost and depraved long weekend in Edinburgh this August as my special holiday treat I ended up looking after other people’s rabbits and working much harder than I expected. Thank heavens, then, for the Camden Fringe which has been consistently rewarding and offered snippets of fringe escapism to a London all loopy with mixed up weather. Thanks to anyone I’ve accosted after a show. Your tolerance is appreciated.
Read about the streetdance gun and knife crime musical, poems about London, last minute stand up, hope for robots, giving up stand up, ill conceived graduate shows and promising sketch comedy. And it’s only 19th August.
Indeed, in 10 days time it’s my birthday. Come to the Camden Head for The Quiz That Ate My Brain and the end of the festival.
Seeing my words attached to my name, quoted by the dance company they were written about, makes me feel quite weird. Slightly alarmed in fact. It’s only 3 words but the recipient values them enough to recycle them as promotion. That’s nice. But my reaction on reading that – and it was tweeted the other day too – is to shrink away from the responsibility of having expressed an opinion in public.
I’ve danced and been engaged with performance all my life and been officially writing about it since 2006. No I’m not Clement Crisp, nor was meant to be, but I trust my reaction to a piece. I know what I’m talking about.
Glad I’ve realised that. Dammit, I should have gone to Political Mother. Fortunately, a colleague of mine did.
Cloud Dance Festival on Friday made me want to write Flailbox again. Mainly because dancers need to get the message that USING TEXT DOESN’T MAKE YOU LOOK SMARTER AND ALMOST DEFINITELY DETRACTS FROM YOUR CHOREOGRAPHY UNLESS YOU’RE COMPLETELY AWESOME. It’s true. Come on. Dance pieces shouldn’t need dancers to speak the dance should speak for itself. Dancers speaking in dance pieces just make the audience feel uncomfortable. And if they then eat oranges, regurgitate them, take off all their clothes, put them in a bucket of water and then put them back on again, expect total audience alienation and not universal acclaim for your depth and insight (yes, that actually happened). I’ll grant an exception for Taciturn, though cos Scouse pleasantries are always acceptable).
Considering Cloud Dance put on upwards of 8 acts a night, they’re always enjoyable bills. This time I really liked 3 pieces, was surprised by one, annoyed by another and rolled my eyes at two. But large glasses of wine are only £3.50 at the Cochrane so it all went down pretty well. Mandy from SYTYCD was in the audience and when Sol Dans came on for their bit it all made sense. Thos was surely where she’d come from – all acrobatics, ‘lyrical’, impassioned, yearning, bonkers athleticism – and indeed, turns out the choreography, Melody Squires, helped her out with her SYTYCD solos. Sol Dans, incidentally – kind of awesome but wibbly on Friday. I imagine when they’re on top form they’re gobstopping, if – unfortunately – a bit Spelbound.
So I’m back for a bit of flailing. And in real life, I’ve been back at ballet classes myself for almost a year now. Summer school in August where I’m learning some Giselle.
NB, I’ve laid off dance writing for a while but the most thrilling things I’ve seen lately were Rambert’s spring show from the stalls seats at Sadlers (Linha Curva woop woop woop) and Michael Clark’s Come Been Gone for the second time at Barbican. Seriously heart racing, hand clasping, sweaty palm stuff. Which makes you remember why you go to all this dance – sometimes it just makes you want to explode. In a good way.
Your comment about Ohad Naharin has been sitting in the back of my mind since you commented and last night I had the good fortune to go and see Batsheva perform Mamootot at Riverside. It was glorious.
Reviewed for Londonist.com. Wish I could go back tonight.