Out of the Box - Nelson Arts Festival
20 October 2014, Theatre Royal - Nelson
Reviewed by Gemma Laing
The full house at Nelson’s Theatre Royal was on its feet, cheering and clapping the outstanding talent that was ‘Out of the Box’ presented by Identity Dance Company. The all male cast directed by Andrew Cesan got the intensity, humor and dynamics just right and engaged the mixed aged audience for the whole hour.
Starting with a solo dancer and ending with the quote (pointing to his heart), “You don’t need any music out there to dance in here”. Audiences are taken on a journey through the essence of dance. Through movement and spoken word, the audience is shown there are no limits to movement and what it means for these dancers to create.
It was refreshing to see street dance free of the restrictions and rules often seen in competitions. Strength and control was shown through multiple complicated lifts and holds, and the way the dancers entered and exited the space kept the intensity and visual imagery of the show.
Starting in bare feet the opening pieces were mellow and the use of floor work and interaction between dancers provided a contemporary feel to it, the music as an undertone to the movement. The mood and feel was uniquely interpreted, and the audience were given an insight into each dancer as they were introduced to the cast without words.
The relationship between contemporary and street dance was explored as violins and jazz music mixed with hip hop beats. Then as the shoes went on and caps were added, the choreography transitioned from style and smooth slow jams to full-on fast-paced isolations.
The power and unison of all the dancers onstage performing the same choreography with power and passion was captivating. Equally effective was the solo contemporary dancer and a spotlight as we heard his breath and felt his movement.
The introduction of ‘House’ with bodies and voices used to create the instruments and play the music was effective and precise. Using music in this way to educate the audience on what was coming was both clever and fun. It was 140 beats per minute, starting with a kick and snare pattern, add the hi-hats and symbols, bass line and sound effects, crank the volume and the drums and you have house music!
The intensity to the end was non-stop and just when you thought the dancers couldn’t go harder or faster they did, going up level after level. The audience responded, they were loving it! Minutes after the show ended the audience were still cheering, which prompted the dancers who had left the stage to return for some free style. And, so the show ended as it had started, dancers sharing with us their passion, creativity and individuality, this time mixed with flips, flares and tricks.
Read DANZ article on Artistic Director Andrew Cesan - Thinking Out(side) of the Box