Monday, October 22, 2018

BELONG - QL2 Dance

Artistic Direction by Ruth Osborne.
Choreographed by Jodie Farrugia, Olivia Fyfe, Luke Fryer and Ruth Osborne.

Lighting and sound by Craig Dear. Costumes by Ruth Osborne
Presented by QL2 Dance – Theatre 3, Acton – 19th and 20th October, 2018.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

This annual presentation, the first of three presented by QL2 each year showcasing different aspects and stages of the QL2 Dance process, focusses on its “Chaos” project; the entry point for young dancers preparing to join the Quantum Leap youth dance ensemble.

This year, 45 dancers aged 8 – 19 years, augmented by several of the senior Quantum Leap dancers who help provide guidance for the younger ones, worked with three experienced choreographers, all of whom have previously participated in QL2 Dance programs, and QL2’s Artistic Director, Ruth Osborne, to create this program. 

The theme for this year, “Belong”, challenged the four choreographers, Jody Farrugia, Olivia Fyfe, Luke Fryer and Ruth Osborne, to each choreograph ensemble dances which not only addressed the theme, but also embraced the varied dance experience of the young dancers participating in the program. It was a challenge they met with remarkable imagination and resourcefulness, creating an impressive, slickly produced work which was thoughtful, even provocative, but also confidently performed and continuously entertaining.

Performed in simple, appropriate costumes and supported with excellent music choices and evocative lighting, the program got off to a spectacular start with “Everyone Belongs Somewhere”, a rousing piece by Ruth Osborne, in which the young dancers, costumed in colourful, T-shirts and shorts, careered around the stage creating ever-changing patterns and groupings as they sorted out a place in which to belong. Assuming various animalistic traits they then performed Olivia Fyfe’s amusing exploration of schoolyard behavior in “In The (Jungle) Schoolyard, The Mighty (Jungle) Schoolyard … We all learn how to get along”.

Jodie Farrugia incorporated props into both her works. For “Connection”, the dancers manipulated white tape to form complex patterns through which they weaved to illustrate the notion of six degrees of separation, while “Disconnection”, was perfectly illustrated by the dancers separating themselves from each other, and their audience, with their absent-minded preoccupation with their smart phones.

Luke Fryer took puzzles as the inspiration for his work “Piecing Together” in which the black-jacketed dancers worked at slotting into each other and the spaces around them. His second piece “Our Heroes Are Our Gentlemen” drew on the acrobatic abilities of some of the male dancers for a witty comment on super heroes.

All these pieces, were presented in a seamless flow of meticulously rehearsed  movement, which climaxed with Ruth Osborne’s, “We All Matter”, in which the whole ensemble charged onto the stage to reprise each of the works, in a series of spectacular, cleverly-staged bows.

                                                         Cover photo by Lorna Sim