The Pure Essence Of Dance

National Dance Company Wales:

Cenedlaethol Cwmni Dawns Cymru


Tuesday 7th May 2019

To understand or even to enjoy modern dance one has to erase and preconceptions one has, any expectations in fact anything at all. What one needs to watch modern dance is a completely open mind. When one is in that receptive state of no expectations then the stage will be alive for you with movements you might think are impossible. You will witness bold, young, creative, innovative and fascinating movement. Dancing is just that, movement. Modern dance is a celebration of movement and the body usage is the communicative tool.

National Dance Company Wales is one of the best exponents of this art form and there isn’t really anything so silent and yet so powerful. The body language screams at you silently and that paradoxical experience is what mkes Modern Dance just so compulsive.

Awakening, is this year’s tour for the company and the three dance pieces one watched tonight left one feeling elated,moved and utterly flabbergasted, the flabbergastion comes in when one witnesses what the human body is capable of.

Comprising three pieces, Tundra, Afterimage and Revellers’ Mass, the company proved they have a rich seam of talent like the valley’s they emit from there is a rich seam of goodness running right through them. Only the dance goodness is the seam the Welsh are mining now and coming back with wonderful and tremendously exciting moves.

Tundra is a look at the revolution and upheaval in Russia. There is a potent sense of understanding and reflection on Russian folklore and Russian Politics. Bedecked in bodysuits, they moved elegantly and almost ghost like. Were they on mini segways? Who knows but they moved like it... amazing. The costumes were reminiscent of Bowie’s Ziggy years. This piece of dance, choreographed by Marcos Morau  is a strident and strong piece. Like the Soviet state it took all the dancers to make it work and just like the Soviet state, the dancers understood that their little movement makes up the bigger picture and by working together all the little moves make up the piece. Or as in the Soviet, liken those moves to the sacrifices and hardships the peasants endured during revolution and one takes a step back and sees the whole picture oneself and the overall image is powerful and enduring. A truly great piece of work.

Afterimage by Fernando Melo came at us with no preconceived narrative, one had to provide one’s own. It is brilliantly performed with mirrors, which allows ghost like almost hologramatic dancers appearing randomly at the reflected table, which made up the centrepiece to this dance. It was just too clever to work out how it was done but to this reviewer the narrative is about the depth between us and our reflection in the mirror.  If you stand 4 inches away from a mirror your image appears to be 8 inches away from you, what is in that space between you and your reflection? Afterimage explored that well, it seems lost souls or fading images live in that gap , Afterimage lifts the stone so we can all look underneath and find out what is there.

Finally Revellers’ Mass with choreography by Carline Finn is a great spectacle. It is the most ritualistic of the pieces and all the action happens around a long table/water trough. I say water trough as unseen by us, along the middle of the table was a groove with water in it making it an incredible device for catching water globules and make them shine wonderfully illuminated like silver lit by the backlighters, which show this piece at it’s absolute best. It is a powerful scene and at moments there are tableaux  one might see on the painting by Da Vinci of The Last Supper. Whether that is deliberate who can tell? But it doesn’t matter as that added value to me. Added meat to my own narrative.

The show is stunningly designed, the mirrors are one of the cleverest devices I have ever seen on stage and the energy and power that the dancers find to bring these pieces to us is breathtaking. Strong, fit and dextrously agile appears to be the spec if you wish to join them.  A thoroughly challenging and enjoyable night out.

This is a Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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