Booking Dance Festival 3: Rock It! @ EICC

Feature by Laurin Campbell | 18 Aug 2010
  • Rock It

Drawing on talent from across the USA, Booking Dance Festival’s Rock It! showcase provides a platform for seven diverse companies to stage their work. From ballroom to Bharatanatyam, a dance form from southern India, the programme is stylistically varied to cater for an array of tastes. Meanwhile, its combination of virtuosity, grace and character ensures that the bill lives up to its punchy title.

Michael Mao Dance opens the show with Weaving, a strikingly powerful modern dance quartet with a tribal edge. Here, both men and women display their power as they command the stage with their physicality and athleticism. The dancers kick, spin, leap and cartwheel to create a frenzy of strength and technique. The energy exerted by the company is tangible and, as the piece reaches its climax, the audience is left eager for more.

Also of note is Vox Dance Theatre’s Fimmine. The all-female troupe, clad in bridal-wear, cavort barefoot together in a show of sisterhood. Like the alluring sylphs of the Romantic era, they demonstrate the playful yet headstrong nature of young women bound together by their situation and sex. It is a visual treat with beautifully crafted choreography by Sarah Swenson.

Character-driven work takes the fore in Ballroom Dancing for Tough Guys’ set, including a particularly humorous look at narcissism in which Lou Brock partners his own reflection in a hand-held mirror. Project: Smith & Peluso then delves further into the psyche with three pieces engaging in emotion through physicality before BodyStories/Teresa Fellion Dance explores the complexities of human relationships.

Ragamala Dance captures the essence of India before we are transported to the 80s in the rocking finale by Freespace Dance. Engaging throughout, Booking Dance Festival delivers a programme with energy, vibrancy and overwhelming generosity of spirit. [Laurin Campbell]

Venue 150 @ EICC, 17-22 Aug, 4pm, £10