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REVIEW | De Nada & Sardoville Dance Theatre | The Lowry

Last night the Lowry showcased two pieces of dance from Sardoville Dance Theatre and De Nada Dance Theatre. They were both contrasting pieces in regards to ideas, choreography and themes, yet similar as in the way the two companies presented a powerful piece of dance.

Opening, Sardoville Dance Theatre performed a dance titled A Matter Of Impression choreographed by Luca Silvestrini. It is a highly naturalistic piece of dance that is incredibly unique. When walking into the theatre the three dancers are warming up and stretching, and as the audience begin to settle, a man steps forward and welcomes everyone. He then takes the role of the narrator in the play, and as the dancers move around the stage, he describes his interpretation.

It’s a beautiful piece of dance that echoes the fundamental things in life that we may usually ignore. By using dance and speech, the ideas become clearer – making it an ideal performance of contemporary dance for someone who may not have watched the style before. It’s incredibly simple but entirely touching, as we witness genuine thought and emotion, the piece boasts exceptional storytelling.

 

Carlos Pons Guerra’s O Maria

 

The second dance performed was titled O Maria, choreographed by Carlos Pons Guerras. Set in 1950s Seville with a setting of suffocating Catholicism, we are introduced to a couple who are bound in an unhappy marriage. With a shimmer of darkness on the stage, the upbeat traditional Spanish soundtrack creates a juxtaposition. It’s an expressively dark yet humorous piece, as one half of the couple lies on the floor with a bag over her head, both arms and feet tied together.

Carlos describes his piece as: “A divine comedy of ham and bondage,” which is exactly what we witness on stage. It’s a piece of dance about gender, telling the story of flamenco dominatrix Conception who is married to Armando, who dreams of being a woman. This obviously causes tension which spurs an appearance from the Virgin Mary, which Carlos describes as: “Even the ties of gender can be loosened under her gentle hands.”

Carlos’ choreography is both imaginative and innovative, his questions about the bible and religious icons are interesting, as he poses the question: “Surely somebody in Canaan or Nazareth must have wanted a sex change?” The movement mixes elegance, power and melodrama which heightens the humour of the piece. The Spanish and Latin character gives the piece brightness and colour, and stylistically Carlos uses exaggeration to really emphasise this story and his striking ideas.

 Read my interview with choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra here.

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