Flock and Swarm at Conway Hall October 17th

October 18, 2012

Jane Turner’s Flock and Swarm accompanied by an intriguing sound-scape design by Nick Rothwell created a transfixing impression. The dancers, numbering around fifty and ranging in age from just out of teens to mid forties, moved with ease and precision whilst at the same time – as a group – managing to possess a mutable fluidity.

After three preparatory rehearsals, the dancers – some from Turner’s HE programme of study – had adapted to each other in such a way as to be very comfortable with themselves in each other’s company, whether in repose and waiting for the next impulse or when dynamically taking the initiative: no easy thing with so many dancers moving in the space at once. There was a sense of humility that permeated the room, a kind of seriousness that gave the piece weight without there being too much of the imposed sternness as can happen sometimes.

There were moments of great virtuosity in gymnastic duets or when shown in flying leaps across the hall, off-set against swathes of calmly swaying dancers who, at times, hardly moved. The vocal work – if here and there lacking some of the power that a company of actors might have brought – nonetheless added to the layered collectivity of the event and it also gave an extra human dimension to the activity: humorous and idiosyncratic.

This was a sophisticated piece of structured improvisation that the audience responded to with sincere enjoyment. It is certainly something that should have other outings!

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