On a freezing November evening, it was a warming experience to witness new dance company Cascade Dance Theatre. Unfortunately, the audience was thin on the ground at Blackwood Miners Institute. Its a real shame that this venue could not mange to generate an audience for such a dynamic and exciting new company.
Phil Williams, artistic director wants to take dance and art to communities that do not usually see it. The company is touring to some small-scale venues that do not traditionally see much dance. Some people think that contemporary dance is too serious and not for them. Cascade are trying to knock down some of the barriers and get more people in to see what it’s all about.
Poppet by Jem Treays
The company boasts international status and has dancers from Japan, Spain, Portugal, Wales and America. The choreographers are from Wales and Holland.
The Triple bill kicked off with Poppet, a piece directed by Wales based choreographer Jem Treays. Poppet is a puppet that is manipulated by five dancers. He is cheeky and mischievous, but eventually is it him that is controlling the dancers? It’s a charming piece that is theatrical and witty. Poppet has the final bow. I think he was in charge.
Quite Discontinuous by Jasper van Luik
Quite Discontinuous choreographed by Jasper van Luik was a much darker piece exploring lifelessness and movement as well as losing a loved one. Performed by Maria Fonseca and Faith Prendergast with jarring music by Lennart Siebers, the piece has a somber and moving tone. The dancers move and focus lights making us zoom in on the grief they were feeling. The stage was suitably dark and atmospheric. The two dancers really explore their relationship. You could feel the love and hurt between them. They painfully asked the question is it easier to be left behind or to leave? It is a captivating piece that really draws you in and makes you feel their loss and anguish.
The final piece of the evening, Collidron, is choreographed by Phil Williams. It is an exploration of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. It is a very clever piece where the dancers are interwoven and fall in waves like gravity and planets colliding. It is beautifully accompanied by Harriet Riley live on Marimba and various other pieces of percussion. There is a symmetry and symbiosis to the music and dance working together that creates something very special. The five dancers work extremely well together and there is lots of skill and creativity on show.
Collidron by Phil Williams
Phil Williams has succeeded in creating a cohesive company that draws you into the evening. The production values are extremely high on all levels. I, for one, cant wait to see what this company does next and hope that it continues to get funding in order to create more quality and exciting work.
Cascade tour continues:
Torch Theatre, Milford Haven (Nov 9th); Theatre Mwldan, Cardigan (Nov 11th); Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli (Nov 15th); Aberystwyth Arts Centre (Nov 18th); Wrexham Stiwt (Nov 22nd); Borough Theatre, Abergavenny (Nov 23rd); and Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd (Nov 25th).
Photography: Roy Campbell-Moore
Review from Taliesin, Swansea:
Interview with Artistic Director Phil Williams: