Saturday, 16 November 2013

Captivating Triple Bill from NDCW

National Dance Company Wales
Autumn Tour 2013
Wales Millennium Centre

To celebrate the company’s 30th birthday National Dance Company Wales are staging a triple bill of new works on various stages around the UK. Since 1983 the group have performed to over 500,000 people and have developed a strong and respected identity. The new collection is a vibrant and varied sample of the company’s work that fully showcases the dancer’s strength and virtuosity.

Virtual Descent

Photograph from

In a post-apocalyptic future the dancers must fight to regain our lost humanity. Choreographed by NDCW performer Eleesha Drennan the piece was physical and intense – helped by the live pounding percussion concerto written by Mark Bowden. 

Despite being on the huge WMC stage the piece felt moody and claustrophobic, dark and passionate. The solos and duets being particularly emotive as individual personalities broke free from the group. 

As the dignified but abandoned figures struggle to communicate they are forced to evolve new ways to become the saviours of humankind. Feisty and primitive the movement elegantly battled against hopelessness and despair – there will be a future and these will be the pioneers.


Photograph from

“As far as my memory goes, weddings have always seemed to me like strange tragedies” says choreographer Angelin Preljocaj. This highly dramatic and confrontational work perfectly depicts what he sees as “the consented rape” of the bride.

The fast paced and dynamic choreography is perfectly complemented by the music choice of Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces. The precision and boundless energy of the two forms blended into one to form a highly explosive battle of the sexes.

The bride mannequins used throughout were sometimes distracting and seemed out of place but their earned their stage time when the ensemble began to hurtle them through the air, creating a violent storm of white lace that objectified the women, turning them into commodities used and abused by the husbands.  

The live females held their own against the males who tried with all their might to coerce them into passionate embraces, fighting with all their power to resist. The heart-stopping climax in which the women leapt from benches into the arms to the men is as powerful an image as you can get, haunting and disturbing.

Water Stories

Photograph from

Inspired by the various watery landscapes of Wales, Water Stories is a collaborative piece choreographed and conceived by Stephen Petronio. Created through a group process of discovery the movement- rather than narrative- based piece utilised beautiful projected images captured by Matthew Brandt and an original fluid score by Atticus Ross.

Not at immediate and intense as the previous two works this piece allowed the dancers to showcase their technical skills in Petronio’s blend of contemporary and ballet styles. Gentle and beautiful the piece flowed through lakes, reservoirs and rich green landscapes.

The movement was often mesmerising and dreamlike, especially when the cast were dressed in flowing white gowns or flesh coloured tops and mossy shorts evocative of mythical water sprites. The only downfall was a single harsh green dress that stuck out like a sore thumb as it did not fit the colour palette at all. This was even more of a shame as the dancer in the dress was so highly talented and captivating, yet she was upstaged by her clothes.

An interesting collection that blended bold, uncompromising physicality with gentle, graceful skill. I look forward to next 30 years of daring and innovative work that is sure to emerge from Wales’ leading contemporary dance company.

For the full programme visit:
For more on the company:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment, about the show or about my review, debate is what it's all about!