Reflected – Phoenix Dance Theatre: The Hawth, Crawley, 6 April 2011

Published 14 April 2011: Crawley News

Published 21 April 2011: East Grinstead Courier & Observer

Onwards and upwards

Tell me that you love me or youre history. Phoenix shoot from the hip in Melt.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that as 2011 sees Phoenix Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary that their current show Reflected would be a trawl through their ‘greatest hits’. Not a bit of it; having just recently moved into a plush new home in Leeds Phoenix are looking to the future and have plumped for no lesss than three brand new works for this engaging night at The Hawth in Crawley.

Melt was the standout piece. Sumptuously choreographed by Phoenix’s Artistic Director Sharon Watson, the use of aerial swings worked a treat by allowing the dancers to glide languidly around the stage and holding gravity-defying positions to the dreamy accompaniment of the Mercury prize-winning Wild Beasts and Michael Mannion’s evocative lighting.

The other two new works, Richard Wherlock’s Switch and Philip Taylor’s What it is, both suffered from too much hectic choreography and an overwhelming barrage of jerky movement and awkward posturing. However, there were some tremendous individual moments amidst the mayhem such as Amanda Lewis’ absorbing solo in Switch and Ryu Suzuki’s fretful descent into madness in What it is.

Squashed in amongst all the new work was Lost Dog’s old favourite Pave up paradise which famously opens with a man ‘urinating’ into a bucket but quickly ascends into an comical tussle between Adam and Eve trying to blame each other for the downfall of humankind. Ryu Suzuki (who was superb all night) and Azzurra Ardovini excelled in their roles, handling the spoken sections with great aplomb.

The choice of music for Reflected was as varied and interesting as the choreography. Using a couple of less well known Amy Winehouse tracks for This is it suited the modern day mores of the piece while Alessandro Lima’s live vocals and impressively gravelled voice ensured Adam and Eve couldn’t keep their hands off each other while paving paradise.

As seems to be current with contemporary dance companies the costumes were a bit iffy but otherwise Reflected was an imaginative and innovative show with brilliant performers that the audience loved. Hopefully Phoenix’s recent cut in funding from the Arts Council won’t impact too much on their fresh approach for the future.

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