Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Award Winning Dance Theatre Earns Its Reputation

Home For Broken Turns and It Needs Horses
Lost Dog
Tuesday 12th November

Formed as recently as 2004 Lost Dog have already proven themselves a force to be reckoned with. Their very first duet, Pave Up Paradise, won numerous awards including first prize at the Burgos International Choreography competition. Now on tour with some of their newer pieces it’s clear to see why It Needs Horses won the much coveted Place Prize for Dance in 2011.

Home For Broken Turns
On the outskirts of civilisation a group of women, a family of sorts, look after each other, determined to keep their dwindling pack together. Their home is simple and tinted with melancholy but it’s theirs and it’s all they have.

Staving off the boredom of provincial life they play, they chase each other and they imitate the animals they encounter. Their play soon turns sinister, with the group turning on one of the girls, barking to chase her off.

As people pass by they try to lure them in, make some money or persuade the men to take them away from the empty wasteland they call home. The sadness and light are beautifully intertwined through the physicality of the piece.

Occasion speech, a mixture of English and French, peppers the performance. What the women are literally saying does not matter, the desperation or joy behind the words is always painfully clear. The mixture of kinetic freedom and profound sadness pulls the audience into the odd home wishing that they could offer these women a better life.   

It Needs Horses
 A couple of circus performers, clearly past their best, try to wow the audience with the tricks they can no longer remember. As the once glamorous woman stands on the trapeze her fear of falling is clear to see. She is presented to us by the ringmaster, a melancholy clown who has nothing left to lose.

After stumbling through some disjointed dance routines the lady faints. At first her companion seems worried but he soon seized the opportunity to take advantage of the unconscious acrobat, making her perform lewd gestures for his own benefit. The piece frequently took these sinister turns, which offered a serious social commentary underneath the layer of dark humour.

These washed up entertainers take advantage of each other, doing just about anything in the hope that we will throw some coins into the clown’s battered hat. As the tension builds the pair up their game until they reach the thrilling climax in which the acrobat takes the place of the traditional horses, galloping around the ringmaster with before unseen grace.

It all gets too much, stepping out of the circus ring not looking back she leaves the clown alone, as he screams with the agony of loss. Touching on the darker side of human relationships and the lengths people will go to, to hold onto the past this exciting  and original performance has certainly derved its huge reputation.

This double bill of dance theatre is everything that the elusive genre should be; exciting, visceral, intelligent, accessible, touching and born out of real emotion. As the company themselves put it “We began with an idea and we continue to wrestle with it, to say what needs to be said and dance the rest.”

For more on the company and these pieces please visit:

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