In the Dust

Choreography by Tom Dale, Freddie Opoku-Addaie and Tamsin Fitzgerald
2Faced Dance Company
Dance City, Newcastle and touring
(2011)

In the Dust

Contemporary dance is an eclectic medium, absorbing into itself many different styles, and, for some years now, it and street dance, hip-hop and breakdance, have been edging closer and closer. The work of 2Faced Dance is, for me (with the caveat that I am an outider in the dance world and my experience is therefore somewhat limited), the first true fusion that I have seen. In the past I have seen street dance (I use the general term for convenience) being influenced by contemporary dance and vice versa, but, in this three-piece programme, for the first time I felt that I was watching an homogenous whole rather than seeing one form grafted onto the other.

The result is an merged movement language which enriches both forms: fast-moving, energetic, gymnastic, almost acrobatic in places.

The evening is made up of three pieces - Subterrania, Politicking Oath and 7.0 - danced by an all-male company of eight.

Subterrania (choreographed by Tom Dale to the music of Shackleton) paints something of a bleak picture: dark (in terms of light as well as theme) and tough. There is a sense of battling and yet it is as if that battling is against the world, not each other.

Politicking Oath, on the other hand, has moments of lightness, of actual humour. Taking the Olympics as its starting point and involving the Olympic oath, the Olympic anthem, a selection of national anthems and of Olympic events, both choreographer Freddie Opuku-Addaie play with the idea of the Olympics, entertaining and, at times, even making the audience laugh out loud.

(As an aside, I have to say that the programme note for this piece has to be the most incomprehensible I have ever read in decades of theatregoing!)

Watching 7.0 (choreographed by the company's founder Tamsin Fitzgerald), I was irresistibly reminded of the work of Hofesh Shechter and discovered afterwards, on reading the programme notes on my way home - I try never to read them before a show - that she has worked with him. It shows!

Inspired by a visit to Haiti a year after the earthquake, 7.0 is the most fully realised of the three pieces, its sense of loss, disorientation and uncertainty clear and unambiguous, from the clouds of dust that billow from the dancers' clothing to the aggression which, one senses, lies behind every move.

Reviewer: Peter Lathan