Preview: Dull Roots, Spring Rain

Cherwell’s verdict: Promising but far from perfect.

Dull Roots, Spring Rain is a three part dance piece from the newly formed Dream Again Dance Company. The title perfectly summarises the state of Dull Roots, Spring Rain at this moment in time; somewhat insipid but with the potential to be so much greater.

Emily Romain, the Artistic director, describes the show as a “poignant exposition of the universal theme of growing up,” but what I encountered was not quite this. Of course the pieces were saturated with solemnity and contemplation, but the three interlinked dance pieces would be better described as an introduction to the themes and conventions of contemporary dance.

The show will last for only one hour and twenty minutes, short enough to keep the attention of contemporary dance virgins, but long enough to satisfy those with a more trained eye. The central themes of maturation and forgiveness are easily relatable and are portrayed well by the talented dance company.

The show comprises three separate but thematically linked pieces: Spring, Rain and Roots. I was only shown Roots and Rain, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pieces. Roots explores the Greek myth of Persephone and the two other pieces also draw inspiration from this story. The combination of ancient myth and modern form worked surprisingly well together, although at points Roots seemed a bit forced. This is evident in the choice of title, a quote from T S Eliot’s The Waste Land. In order to convey the loss of innocence, the piece was overwhelmed by symbolism. The costumes will be black for parts of the piece and white for others and there will be projections depicting the story on the back wall. I found these additions slightly excessive, though as a newcomer to contemporary dance I accept they may be necessary to aid understanding.

The skill of the Romain, her co-choreographer and her dancers was obvious from the pieces, and the selection of music was also very apt. However, I did feel at points like the use of props, including white cardboard boxes, somewhat detracted from the dances.

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Dull Roots, Spring Rain is an interesting introduction into the world of contemporary dance. Given a few more weeks to fully integrate the props and lighting into the piece, Dull Roots, Spring Rain could be a provocative piece of contemporary dance.