At Wadham this week there is the chance to see something really worthwhile. An Evening of Dance is a true collaboration of town and gown, students and non-students brought together by a love of dance are putting on some real show-stoppers with an eclectic mix of all varieties of dance from tap to traditional Indian. There are so many different styles of dance on offer that listing them would be tedious. However, I promise you that watching them wasn’t.
An example of the more modern dance on offer is Bond which, as you may have guessed, uses the well-loved theme songs associated with 007. It’s an energetic and staccato piece which more than anything expresses the strength and power of the dancers as they work together to create the impact it demands. Perhaps a little too innocent to capture the entire essence of our favourite spy but overall just as sophisticated and entertaining as the character in the blockbusters.
Much longer, more ambitious and far more original is Icarus, a short ballet inspired by the Greek myth in which Daedalus attempts to flee across the sea on man-made wings with his son, the eponymous Icarus. The choreography captures the joy of flying with all six dancers wheeling across the stage in graceful lines like a flock of birds. The freedom of the later scenes is in direct contrast with the opening where the dancers seem stuck to the floor, trapped by gravity as the struggle to stand. There is a feeling of restlessness which permeates the dance, bringing drama and lyricism to the themes of freedom and over-confidence. Sarah Thorp, the choreographer, has managed to create a ballet which seamlessly moves through cheeky confidence, euphoria, wistfulness and agitation in under twenty minutes.
It’s rare that you get to see a group of dancers so focused and in tune with each other and the pleasure they get from performing is palpable. An Evening of Dance is a fantastic event emphasising the power of movement in a city where we’re often so focused on words. In more ways than one this is a rewarding production; did I mention that it’s all for charity?