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Rosie Kay Dance Company

'Double Points: K' and 'Supernova'

by David Mead

October 14, 2008 -- Civic Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

Following her successful foray into dance theatre with “The Wild Party”, rising choreographer Rosie Kay’s latest programme sees a return to a contemporary dance aesthetic.  “Double Points: K’ came out of time she spent with choreographers Emio Greco and Pieter Sholten and is inspired by their work “Double Points: Two”.  In it, Kay and her partner Morgan Cloud seem to be on some sort of journey.  Initially, the couple move along a single, diagonal strip of light that divides the stage.  They circle and pass each other.  There is a constant feeling of edginess and tension, emphasised throughout by the sudden changes in the music, from J.S. Bach to the electronica of Louis Price and others.

Throughout the work, Kay and Cloud showed an amazing togetherness.  Some sections called for split second timing, which they achieved superbly.  Kay calls this ‘synchronicity’, which can perhaps be best explained as two people dancing as one and with one mind, rather than as two in unison.  It’s also clearly an intensely demanding piece physically.  In a powerful ending, the pair stand facing the audience, the silence broken only by their heavy breathing, before continuing their travels to who knows where.   The fact the duet completely held the attention for thirty minutes probably says more than any words about the choreography and the dancers concerned.

“Supernova” may not have quite the same close relationship as “Double Points: Two” and “Double Points: K”, but there is certainly a family resemblance.  Although ‘Supernova’ takes its inspiration from time, space, energy and matter, fashioned into the physical and personal, there are clear movement links to the first work of the evening.  Having said that, “Supernova” does stand alone, and, unlike when the two Double Points works were performed together, this programme makes for a more than satisfying evening of dance.

Kay has clearly been reading up on her supernovae since, while the work doesn’t attempt to literally replicate what astronomers might see, it does incorporate many of the elements of these stella phenomena.  Right from the very beginning, the five dancers swirl round with great energy; then suddenly and unexpectedly they stop, precariously balanced on one leg as if on the edge of some abyss.  Reflecting the way supernovae often collapse in on themselves or reignite, the dancers are often drawn to the centre and expelled outwards again, sometimes collapsing into nothing before bursting back into life.

Kay’s young dancers, although a little nervous at first, brought freshness and energy to the choreography.  There were occasions when the group work seemed to need a little tightening up, but this was only the second performance, and in a non-traditional theatre space.  But they really did show us moments of chaos and moments of togetherness; bursts of great energy and times of stillness.  It is just this contrast that makes the work so interesting.  As is often the way, it is the still moments that linger in the mind afterwards, but they need those fast, frantic sections to do so.

The connections between the two works go deeper than the movement though.  Kay proves that it is possible to make good, accessible dance that is clearly and unashamedly based in technique.  It’s quite refreshing to see a small and still relatively new company that does not feel the need to resort to gimmicks or shock tactics.  And for good measure, both works are intensely musical too.

‘Double Points:K’ and ‘Supernova’ will be touring in the UK in February and March 2009.

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