Friday, October 23, 2015

ALL THE THINGS - QL2 Dance




Theatre 3 – Acton – 17th October

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Once a year QL2 Dance present three performances of a production designed to introduce their youngest and less experienced dancers who participated in the annual “Chaos” project. The dancers in this group range in age from 8 – 17. Included in the group are some of the senior Quantum Leapers whose job it is to guide the younger ones and those new to QL2.

The object of the project is to introduce the dancers to the process of working with a choreographer and to moving beyond just learning the steps.  This includes thinking about concepts and emotions, participating in improvisational movement and tasks, refining the most effective ideas, then rehearsing them until everything flows.

This year, four choreographers, including Ruth Osborne, the Artistic Director of QL2, together with Jamie Winbank, Joshua Lowe and Alison Plevey, worked with 44 dancers to create a program of seven short works with an overarching theme selected in collaboration with the dancers.  The theme chosen this year was “consumerism”  and the work, “All The Things”, was presented in a seamless flow lasting just under a n hour.

For his piece entitled “The Earth Can Provide”,  Jamie Winbank incorporated supermarket catalogues to  establish  the idea of  “want”’ versus “greed”.  Alison Plevey continued this theme with her work “Do This, Do that” with the dancers busily ticking off their lists of tasks. A second more light-hearted work by Plevey entitled “Material Matters” made imaginative use of multi-coloured shopping bags and included a cute dance for the older girls to Madonna’s “Material Girl”.

Joshua Lowe also contributed two works. His first, “Why You Gotta Move So Fast”, made effective use of rap movement. His second, “INeed”  was a cleverly executed journey, performed with great  enthusiasm  by the boys. Firstly,  as prehistoric man discovering the first red apple, being persuaded by advertising that they should replace it with a green apple, then progressing through time and products until they discover Apple technology.

As is usual with these programs QL2’s Artistic Director, Ruth Osborne, choreographed the two works which bookended the program. The first “I Want, I Want, I Want” introduced the theme and the dancers, while “Needs = food, love, air, shelter” neatly summarised the theme before leading into a spectacular mass finale involving all the dancers.

The whole program was performed on an open stage utilising colourful props which could be quickly carried on and offstage by the dancers, and simple, colourful costumes. The music choices for each work were varied and well chosen.  The dancers did not appear to be graded by age, and several of the works featured younger dancers sharing the stage comfortably with their more senior colleagues.

Particularly impressive, considering the relatively short rehearsal period,  was the polish and precision achieved in various sections as well as the enthusiasm and confidence with which the young dancers took to the stage, managing to maintain clean lines and spacings while performing often complex choreographic manoeuvres.  Impressive also was how cleverly the choreographers had worked to the individual skill sets of the participants to achieve a dance program which was entirely engrossing from beginning to end.




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