Combining different dance styles including ballet, jazz, tap and modern, The Houston City Dance Company use wit and pathos in eight different pieces, using six female dancers and three different choreographers.
Random Acts works in exhibiting impressive physicality of performance, breadth of genre, and awe and wonder at the body can do, in accessible, bite-piece chunks.
Random Acts showcases an impressive variety of what the company can do both choreographically and narratively, with each piece used to communicate a different story so that the whole resembles a series of shorts.
The first piece is the most traditional of the dances, where the company showcase what they can do. They flit around the stage with impressive fluidity of limbs, mirroring each other and working in unity like a murmuration of starlings each taking turns at centre stage.
The tap-dance face-off baseball match blends the dancers' skill with a sense of humour, where the tapping is so effortless it looks as if the feet are not part of the body. The bright pink and white costumes complement the fun and vivacity of the polished performance. Facial expressions further emphasise the humour.
Another piece, tackling bullying and suicide, brings to mind West Side Story in its fast-paced, angry movements, and is as shocking and brutal. It is also, like West Side Story, incredibly cool and electrifying to watch.
The music corresponds well with each of the pieces, from the yoga-calm of the first piece, to sassy, jazzy cool and the dramatic music of a baseball match.
The final and most dramatic piece has the dancers dressed in jump suits, hiding, jumping and crawling, showing strength and agility as they move about the stage to tense African drumming music. There's an edgy, violent vibe as we recognise prisoners, hands tied behind their backs, breaking from their confines. The use of the fading lights contributes to the dramatic tension.
Each piece has an entirely different story, music and tone to it, and this works to keep the audience's attention. Some pieces need more concentration than others to keep up with their story, but if not grasped, the aesthetic spectacle is still rewarding. The performance is dynamic, high-energy, relentless - the performers can be heard panting from behind the curtains in-between the pieces. Random Acts works in exhibiting impressive physicality of performance, breadth of genre, and awe and wonder at the body can do, in accessible, bite-piece chunks. However it also succeeds in creating a sense of fun, wit and cool.