Yet another reincarnation of the postgraduate performance company of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD), Verve, knocked my socks off at their premiere on February 28 2014 at the Riley Theatre, Leeds.
The annual change of company members has created a 12-strong group for 2014 from conservatories across the UK and Europe, who are performing four works –
- Re-wind, choreographed by Lea Anderson
- Ocean, choreographed by Jamaal Burkmar
- You, Me, the Door and the Floor, choreographed by Ben Duke
- Mute, choreographed by Goddard Nixon
Lea Anderson MBE, is the most well known of the choreographers having co-founded The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs dance companies, which over their 25 years as two of Britain’s foremost contemporary dance companies she choreographed over 100 works. Her work was the one I liked least. The gold spandex was distracting and the elements of homour weren’t quite funny enough. The concept of an imaginary opera didn’t engage me either.
In contrast, the work produced by the least experienced choreographer, Jamaal Burkmar, was amazing. Ocean was created in his second year on the BPA(Hons) degree in contemporary dance at NSCD, the work proved so popular amongst audiences and students it was included in the touring programme for Verve. I have previously seen Ocean not long after it was created at the Net Night I attended last March and felt that it was something very special. I was really pleased to me able to see it again as it is a work that fills you with emotion and warmth. It’s a really positive and exciting piece that I don’t think I could ever get sick of watching. I can’t wait to see Jamaal’s career unfold in the next few years once he graduates.
**start video at 1 minute to go straight to the beginning of the performance**
I also liked Ben Duke’s work which combined theatre with dance. There were plenty of laughs mixed with shades of dark and light. I was indifferent about Goddard Nixon’s work, it seemed like the usual troubled-soul type work that left you a little depressed and on edge.
But in saying all of that, it’s fantastic to have a mixed programme that takes you through the whole range of emotions performed by very talent dancers that are the next generation of British dance. I’d definitely recommend you getting a ticket for one of the upcoming 17 tour dates in the UK and Europe.