Monday, October 22, 2012

NAME GAME

Name Game
Photo:Chris Canham


Ql2 Dance Inc. – Chaos Project 2012
Choreographers: Caitlin MacKenzie, Matt Cornell, Gabe Comerford
Theatre 3: October 19th and 20th.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

The Chaos Project is a series of performances staged by QL2 Dance Inc. to provide an entry point to prepare young dancers aged between 8 – 16 years to join the Quantum Leap youth dance ensemble, QL2.

Enlisting the skills of professional choreographers, Caitlin MacKenzie, Matt Cornell and Gabe Comerford, and incorporating contributions by resident directors Ruth Osborne and Adelina Larsson, the theme for “Name Game” was the exploration of ideas around identity through such things as names, tags, signatures and name calling. The work was presented as a single, seamless, ensemble performance danced by 36 young dancers, presented without an interval, and lasting a little under one hour.

In her program note, Artistic Director, Ruth Osborne explains “in every section the dancers have contributed ideas and movement material to each choreographer’s creative process, giving them an introduction to working with a choreographer and moving beyond just learning the steps”.

Even the youngest of the dancers appeared confident and able maintain concentration throughout the entire work, which, considering the complexity of the material was no mean feat. “Name Game” was very much an ensemble work, and the choreography included a great deal of spectacular unison movement, as well as partnering and vocalisation with a few acrobatic tricks included to showcase special skills of particular dancers. It was danced to an imaginative recorded soundscape drawn from composers as varied as Carl Orff, Amo Tobin, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson.

It commenced with a playful opening section “What’s in a Name”, in which the dancers entered in small groups. Each introduced themselves by name, while performing rhythmic ensemble movement. Gradually cardboard cartons were introduced for a section called “The People Factory”.  In this sequence the dancers were required to manipulate the cardboard box props while performing intricate ensemble choreography.

A notable feature of QL2 dance performances is the number of young boys who participate. Approximately half the dancers in this performance were boys and it was impressive to observe how confidently and unselfconsciously they interacted not only with the girls in the ensemble sections, but also with each other particularly in the section entitled “Choose your own adventure/name”.

Despite the stated purpose of the work as being an introduction for the young dancers to the intricacies of choreography, the precision and polish with which the performance was presented insured that it was also an entertaining and enjoyable dance work in its own right, notable for the inventiveness of the choreography and for the exuberance and skill of the participants.

Name Game
Photo: Chris Canham 
 

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