Review: National Dance Company Wales, Awakening, Riverfront Theatre, Newport

St David’s Day is a great day to celebrate being Welsh and National Dance Company Wales choose the 1st March 2019 to launch the tour of their latest show, Awakening at the Riverfront Theatre in Newport.

To wet the taste buds 4 young ladies from Newport Rubicon’s Youth Dance Group entertained the waiting audience before the auditorium opened.

The tour comes as the company enters a new phase in artistic leadership, under the recently appointed Artistic Director, Fearghus Ó Conchúir who opened the show with a lovely Welsh welcome and pointed out that “Dance is art that helps us understand who we are and can change lives”.

The evening opened with Tundra, a piece I was excited to see after missing last years tour.  Opening with some great chasse movement, hidden behind skirts, the dancers were representing Russian dolls which morphed into moves emulating robotic mirroring and shadowing movement.  Vibrant colourful costumes added to the dance especially when concentrating on arm movements, which were enhanced by the  blue and orange chevrons on the costume.

Afterimage features in National Dance Company Wales’ Awakening. Photos by Rhys Cozens.Afterimage features in National Dance Company Wales’ Awakening. Photos by Rhys Cozens.

Afterimage features in National Dance Company Wales’ Awakening. Photos by Rhys Cozens.

The second dance, Afterimage used mirrors on stage to form a unique theatrical experience.  I loved the work with the mirrors and lighting creating a super impression of live action which seemed to change the opacity of the dancers on stage giving them an unusual presence.  I was a bit disappointed that much of the action revolved around a chair and a table and would love to see more work like this done with more active dancing.

The final dance was Revellers’ Mass, which delves into a sumptuous world of group gatherings.  This was a much more active dance, which included a couple of lifts. As the piece was quite busy, it was difficult to know where to look.  However, this dance was my favourite purely because of how much was going on, conveying decadence, over indulgence and the atmosphere.

Although I can’t pretend to understand all three performances featured in Awakening or profess to get much from them, I cannot complain about the commitment and expertise the dancers displayed on stage performing works of art.

  • There will be several opportunities to catch Awakening across South Wales in the next few months: Swansea, Taliesin Arts Centre on the 4 April 2019 as well as Sherman Theatre on the 1 and 2 May 2019.

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