CHANNEL ROSE | LIVE REVIEW
Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, Fri 6 Dec
The National Dance Company Wales welcomed to the Dance House their ex choreographer, Eleesha Drennan, whose piece Channel Rose utterly captivated its audience.
The cast all possessed unique qualities, complementing one another and always breathing a new breath into the piece every time they moved. With the technique of world class dancers and stage presence of Shakespearian actors, they were compelling and physically powerful.
Upon entering the space, the cast of three busied themselves in their own realms. There’s the gypsy woman, we are told, searching for a home; the witch with the presence of an ancient Grecian queen, intricately chiselling at a sand castle, and the ‘ethereal wizard’ dressed Samurai-like moving metrically.
Flooded lighting on one side of the stage created transformative depth while the clarinet and xylophones’ produced a fantastical score that merged the characters worlds.
Seamlessly solos emerged, melting into rhythmic duets and ensemble, only to thread off into solos. There were no clunky moments that altered the pace. The entire piece moved as though we were transported to a place where time was measured differently and energy was a precious currency.
Continuous changes in status on stage created a unique flux as the dancers carried, lifted and leant into one another. While exchanging weight and authority; themes of surrender, dependency and control, delicately emerged.
Ritually washing their hands in a fish bowl, that was lit from underneath, created a beautiful effect on the ceiling. Rose-tinted glasses that the dancers physically exchanged made the wearer marvel at every moment while the other two moved heavily and drained.
The female duets became brutal and exhausting. The strength of the dancers was reiterated as one of the women was flipped upside down to rest in a headstand. Later the wizard would only just catch the women as they allowed themselves to fall backwards with the primitive convulsions of Graham dancers, creating gasps throughout the audience.
Channel Rose was unflawed; visually stunning, simplistic while embodying exactly what contemporary dance should be; engaging, thought provoking and both theatrically and physically inspiring.
words SINNEAD ALI