Sadler's Wells Present Ava Dance Company at Latitude 2015

Yesterday evening, we returned to the Waterfront Stage to watch an energetic and imaginative piece of contemporary dance.

Sadler's Wells Present Ava Dance Company at Latitude 2015

Ava Dance company presented their take on the universe, splitting it up into three stages - early development, organised formation and finally the human age. An all female group of dancers took us through fifteen minute acts, adapting their energy levels, styles and formality with ease between each. The first act looked at the beginning of time, with random movements, independent moves and a jerky energy that encapsulated the fizzing physics of the beginning of time. The music sounded metronome-like, abstract and a little abrasive. It was a confident piece, that could very easily have ended up a mess if not in the hands - and feet - of very capable dancers. The random movements and shapes were pulled into line by dancers who didn't miss a beat, moving acutely in time with the music, if not each other. The costumes mirrored the bare beginnings of the world, not yet formed in character, as all dancers were dressed in nude shorts and vests, looking like new born beings waiting to find the way. The second act looked at the beginnings of order and symmetry in the universe, with lines and patterns beginning to form everything together. The inspiration switched to Baroque, with the dancers dressed in brightly coloured shirts, red, yellow and blue. The dancing was minimal, dancers making fest hand gestures in asymmetric patterns with one another while standing in formation. This section was pretty reminiscent of modernist painting, with bold block colours, small, precise gestures and unexpected patterns. The final section seemed to be the birth of humans, culture and individuality. All the dancers were dressed differently, some in luminous rave gear, others in mini skirts and crop tops - all colourful and loud. Dancers wore their long hair down and shook it around like crazy, they jumped and bopped and vogued, the most energetic piece of the set and the most expressive. The details here were really great to hone in on. One dancer lay on her stomach and skateboarded across the back of the stage, and moments of innuendo and split second gesture suggested a mocking of a culture that has perhaps turned slightly vulgar. Great stuff to kick of the night, and pretty perfect for a festival setting, capturing the high energy and freedom of expression that is so inherent in art festivals.

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Emily Steer

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