Gianluca Vincentini – Wild Card “all works are exceptional and fascinating in their ability to investigate emotions”

Encounter One. Photo by Danilo Moroni

Renowned choreographer Gianluca Vincentini curated the last edition of Wild Card, a special event that aims to promote new generation of dance makers. The programme, a quite interesting mix of dance vocabulary and highly skilled performers, features a triple-bill from promising choreographers based in the North of England, and introduces Möbius Dance, Vincentini`s new dance company. From marriage drama, to the exploration of human history and a feel-good collective piece, all works are exceptional and fascinating in their ability to investigate emotions.

The evening starts with Encounter One, a video performance by Möbius Dance, featuring dancers Stefania Pinato and Amarnah Ufuona Amuludun, which then develops into a live interaction with the audience. The duo explores the dilemma of being themselves and at the same time accept compromise as a necessary sacrifice to fit in the society. Through a continuous contact improvisation, they connect and let go, lift the arm or walk their fingers on the partner’s silhouette, revealing a special chemistry enriched by a strong eye-contact.  The steady ambient music, played live by Otis Jones, sets the rhythm for a transporting piece that sees dancers wandering around the audience, slightly touching a shoulder or caressing somebody’s hair in the attempt to establish a connection. It is an interesting collaboration that triggers an intense curiosity in seeing more from Möbius Dance.

Encounter One. Photo by Danilo Moroni
Encounter One. Photo by Danilo Moroni

Carlos Pons Guerra – O Maria

Set in a kitchen in 1950s Seville, O Maria is a hilarious contemporary dance drama. UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award nominee Carlos Pons Guerra brings to the stage a surreal situation where the Holy Mary, funnily impersonated by Phil Sanger, appears to an unhappily married couple consisting of a strictly religious woman with a fetish taste and her submissive husband.  The heavenly apparition spices up their relationship and triggers a bursting flow of sassy sequences and sexual allusions, culminating in a hypnotic entanglement between the three of them in a sort of polyamory relationship with a ham leg. It is a hard-hitting and transporting piece, a triumph of the absurd, accompanied by a sublime score in contrast with the humorous language of the performance. Dancers are all exceptional in combining contemporary and flamenco-infused movements with astounding theatrical expressions.

Crystal Zillwood – Evolutio

With this exquisite and intimate solo, Leeds-based contemporary dancer and choreographer Crystal Zillwood, investigates the human evolution. The piece combines body isolations and clearly articulated gestures with slow, fluid phrases, revealing a perfect control of the body. Lit only by low side-lights that cast her shadow at the back, she walks on arms and legs, imitating primate gestures and setting a parallel with our ancestors. It is a human and delicate choreography that showcases Crystal’s excellent technique; her ability to conquer the stage without the need of props or visual effects is simply stunning. Poetic music by violinist Nigel Kennedy performing a polish folk song turns the atmosphere into an evolving progression of life and emotions.

Jamaal Burkmar. Photo by Danilo Moroni
Jamaal Burkmar. Photo by Danilo Moroni

Jamaal Burkmar – The Calm          

New Adventures Choreographer Award winner Jamaal Burkmar draws from memories of home and family to create a piece that is strongly connected with the score. Music is the common thread in The Calm’s composition, where the rhythm reflects entirely in each movement. It is a piece of pure dance, fast and energetic, featuring sustained flow of tight dance sequences filled with good tension that slows down only in rare moments when dancers rest on each other. Spaced by neo-soul music, performers bring up their personality to the stage through continuous interactions and complex variations in symbiosis with the music. It is a gripping work that leaves the audience with a joyful feeling.

Reviewed at Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells on 23rd November by Francesca Marotto

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