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Verve 2012

Northern School of Contemporary Dance

The Lowry, 29 June 2012

This stupendous show shimmers with lambent motions and energetic delights.

The centrepiece was Akram Khan’s ‘Vertical Road’, mesmerising to take in in real time and not a little mystical; it even included at one point some dervish whirling.  It seemed to be about the emergence of an individual from a group; that was my interpretation as I watched it anyway.  Xenophobic disdain or absolute adoration being the fate that awaits the one who’s different from the rest.

Jordan Massarella’s ‘For Dear Life’ was athletic as well as aesthetic, physically demanding yet intricate close-to, as delicate as clockwork; Claire Rodemark and Tom Tindall handled this aspect of the dance very well indeed.  At the end you were moved by it.

A male duet, ‘Dark in the Afternoon’ by James Cousins was strenuously performed and had a definite erotic charge.  If you could bring the figures in one of Paul Cadmus’ paintings to life they would move like this.

And Lea Anderson’s ‘Dynamo’ also had a defined erotic edge, along with a certain painterly quality.  There was a phalanx of beautiful young women, all dressed in vintage (‘50s) attire a la Aguilera.  Some were doll-like and puppet-like, while others took it upon themselves to manipulate them.  They (the doll-like dancers) were twirled about, discarded when boredom struck.  As with a lot of Anderson’s work, it was inventive and intriguing but at times disturbing.

All in all, Verve 2012 offered a varied and interesting programme and the dancers – all recent graduates – were superb, easily professional calibre +.

The final tour date of Verve 2012 is 4 July, when it returns to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds.  Details can be found here.