[All imaged credited to Nicole Guarino]
VERVE is the post-graduate performance company of the Northern School for Contemporary Dance and each year sees a new cohort working on new commissions from leading and emerging choreographers to produce a dynamic and eclectic mixed bill of contemporary dance works for a company of 22 dancers.
Kerry Nicholls’ Entwined is inspired by Lovesong, a poem by Yorkshire’s former poet laureate Ted Hughes. Relationships are indicated by dancers in pairs stretching and crouching, flailing and tumbling against an electronic soundtrack and flashes of lights. The movement is very rhythmic and quite dizzying, ranging from abrupt violence to tender closeness.
For Theo Clinkard’s We Become Panoramic the music starts with driving Daft Punk when a binliner drops from above which transpires to be full of costumes for the dancers. The sound shifts to elegiac Vaughan Williams and a circular relay race takes place and then a whole host of complex movement including sequences in perfect synch, lifting and falling exercises and moments of repose. The piece makes very effective use of the full space with seamless shifts of pace and powerful group dynamics.
Douglas Thorpe’s Dramatis Personae starts with exaggerated gestures in extravagant costumes with some cheeky bee-like bum-wiggling and saucy belly slapping. The dancers stagger, shake and swagger in choreography that is explosive and ultra-expressive whilst also having time for reflection by use of frieze and slow-mo.
The climax of this year’s VERVE Luca Silvestrini’s Forth and Last which is a somewhat looser form of choreography. The movement is provocatively sexy and racy with lines of dancers criss-crossing in diagonal lines. Again there is both aggression and intimacy and each dancer has a turn at hosting the mic with such crazy comments as, ‘I used to be a mermaid’. The voiceover is also used to give instructions to the dancers, practically impossible to perform but fun trying nonetheless. It is a light and hopeful end to what for these dancers is the beginning of their professional careers, most having already having found work with leading companies.
Find out details about next academic year’s NSCD programme here.