Holding the attention of an audience for an hour of dance, especially with a mish-mash of different styles, can be a challenge. Granted, this performance is a ‘showcase,’ highlighting work from multiple ‘distinguished choreographers,’ so I was expecting to see variety. However, the end result is a show lacking identity, splattered with some shining performances which were few and far between and I found my mind drifting off during certain solos.
The show presents five unrelated, and uneven, pieces of choreography. We are welcomed in by a solo performance by Emma Draves who performed her mix of ballet, contemporary and classical Indian dance with polish and beautiful control. However, the accompanying chimes of music left me rather cold, reminding me of sounds one might hear in a spa whilst receiving a stress relief massage. For me, the highlight of the show was a section titled ‘Come Change,’ performed and choreographed by Vincent E. Thomas. The only piece in the concert using text, Thomas completely drew the audience in with his frank address and honest discussion of quotidian stereotypes and labels. This thought-provoking monologue linked seamlessly to his movement, an exciting fusion of street and contemporary dance. Recognizing his passionate performance, the audience whooped and cheered as his section came to an end - far too early for my liking. I would recommend this show if only to see his inspiring piece of choreography.
The other pieces were interesting and diverse, but didn’t strike the same emotion for me as Thomas’ solo. There were flashes of fluidity and grace from energetic partner work when dancers effortlessly rolled into each other’s movements, building up a stimulating momentum. These moments were deeply satisfying, and I was a disappointed when the energy dropped. Overall, the concert is an enjoyable experience, full of passion and talent, yet nothing presented was remarkably innovative. I feel Danceforms could have pushed the boundaries further to really live up to their ‘award-winning’ hype.