Dancin' across the Country
Both Ballet West and Curious Seed, who are touring this month, are reminders of dance's versality. Ballet West are staging the romantic classic, Swan Lake, with a company evolved from their Oban based school; Curious Seed follow up their Fringe 2009 smash Found by extending their multimedia experimental choreography.
Christine Devaney, artistic director of Curious Seed, is never one to rest on her laurels. Her latest production assembles a performance supergroup and explores the poetic logic of dream and ambition. PUSH reunites her with Luke Sutherland, sometime violinist with Mogwai and celebrated author of Venus as a Boy, adds Jonathan Charles’ video and expands the company to include Breakin’ Convention’s MC Anthony Mills, Jude Williams, fresh from Cryptic’s Orlando, and a community ensemble from each stop on the tour.
Devaney’s choreography moves beyond predictable contemporary: her integration of multimedia and text lends her work accessibility and wit. PUSH was inspired by the play of a nine year old – Tallulah Moleson, who remains in the cast – and questions the role of resistance in the development of personality. Curious Seed’s eclectic approach suits this sort of study, slipping between genres without ever disappearing into obscure nonsense.
Ballet West, in contrast, are touring a classical favourite. Like Curious Seed, they connect to a community of performers. Ballet West is both a company and a school, offering a BA in dance through practice – the company offers the students the chance to tour in a professional environment. While the film Black Swan was a mixed pleasure – a predictable horror romp obscuring much of dance’s immediate emotional punch – it was a reminder of Swan Lake’s intensity. Perhaps the greatest of the romantic ballets, Ballet West’s admirable committment to touring ballet around the country will hopefully open a new generation to ballet's potential.