Review: Phenix @ Crescent Theatre

Just back from the first ever Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival this young company’s showcase at the Crescent was intriguing to say the least. An excited Sunday night audience were treated to a programme of nine short-ish new works as part of Birmingham Fest filled with an energy and vitality that gradually developed into a series revealing glimpses into the enthusiasm and commitment of its dancers and choreographers.

In a show filled with vibrant and profound moments several pieces stood out as being special, for a host of reasons.

Company Director Adam Rutherford’s Me and My Shadow which opened the show played with light by seeming to give it the physicality of water as three girl dancers moved in and out of it like naiads.

Dance of Possession by Rosie Kay was an extraordinary exploration of primal movement inspired by the ethnomusicology collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum. Here the performers explored trance and tribal dance in a mesmeric series of episodes set to historic recordings from countries as diverse as Colombia, Cameroon and the Central African.

Powerful dancer Mitchell Shortland brought real dynamism to Adam Rutherford’s (i)Phoenix (work in progress) set to music by Mojave.

But the final piece, Carlos Pons Guerra’s Costa Del Sol brought the house down with its hilarious encounter between a traditional flamenco dancer and the clubbing fraternity of Marbella. This became a sun-soaked saturnalia which saw the iconic Spanish dancer become the irresistible Everywoman in a hilarious and acrobatic Bacchic frenzy.

Special mention must go young dancer Brandon Bache who discovered his vocation at RDC Youth – his natural talent leapt out from stage to audience. If he decides to pursue his current dance interest first impressions are he could have a great performance career ahead. I’m told the company is currently on the look-out for more dancers for September and will be holding a summer school in August – for more info check out www.rdcyouth.com.

An inspiring evening full of finds and surprises from a company packed with new, vibrant young dancers. The future of dance looks safe and well here in the Midlands.

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