Review: Northern School of Contemporary Dance Graduation 2016 – ‘fun, feisty and flirty’


The Northern School Of Contemporary Dance present their Graduation 2016 performance at the Riley Theatre. Promising versatility, vibrancy and virtuosity it is all brought together with choreography by three different teachers. Amanda Wignall reviews.

Wonderland: A handful of primary school age kids sit and drink milk from tiny bottles and talk about what scares them. Each performer has the little bodily nuances and movements down to a fine art as they are all totally believable as wide eyed and beautifully innocent five-year-olds. ‘I am scared the sun might explode,’ shouts one of them. ‘I am scared if I drink too much milk I will turn white,’ declares another.

a170c9f4ed258ef27fbfdc5e1db0d493_400x400The pace quickens as they create waterfalls, mountains and other wonders with a particularly cheeky move from two of the dancers pretending to pee in order to create the waterfalls which the others start swimming in! All of the ensemble are visually engaging and the energy is high. With some genuine laugh-out-loud moments and punchy strong moves Wonderland opens the showcase with a pleasant bang.

Wild Blood: This offering is all about self-belief and acceptance of oneself. Here we see Emile Karlsen in her self-choreographed piece to the achingly haunting Ave Maria and she is totally captivating. You are left wanting more of this graceful yet powerful dancer.

Riley-theatre-2016-webThe Band: The third piece focuses on a farewell gig where the beginning is the end, heroes and chemistry. At times its rather confusing but enjoyable none the less.

Catalyst: The final segment is a celebration of athletic ability, strength, individuality and cooperation. With lighting giving a grid-like effect on stage, nine performers take to the stage each within their own lit square where they move in unison. It is fast and frenetic with the occasional duet and solos. One of the soloists is Karlsen and once again she leaves the audience spellbound. Even when she is dancing with the other eight it is impossible to tear your eyes away.

NSCD has a long proud history of producing and nurturing phenomenal talent. These 2016 Graduates are no exception as each and every one of them lights up the stage. The entire show is fun, feisty and flirty giving them all a chance to shine.

Graduation 2016 is on till the 9th of July at the Riley Theatre.