Thursday, 14 November 2013

Review: Company Chameleon dancing Live at LICA


'Eden' and ‘Pictures We Make
Double Bill presented by Company Chameleon
at Live at LICA , The Nuffield Theatre,
Lancaster University
8:00pm, Thursday 6 November 2013
Reviewed by Hannah Dial.


As one audience member commented, “I’m not that familiar with contemporary dance, but I really enjoyed tonight’s performance.” I have seen my fair share of contemporary dance, yet you may attribute the second sentiment of that quote to me also. In fact, I defy anyone to watch this double-bill and not spend their journey home re-watching in their mind’s eye the point when a dancer seemed to levitate before passing partly through a wall in Eden (it’s amazing what effects a thin shaft of light can achieve), or trying to shake off the feeling that Pictures We Make had managed to creep uncomfortably close to their own experiences of human interaction.

What an absolute pleasure to be treated to such an intimate, thoughtful and inspiring set of work from Company Chameleon. Whether moving as individuals, pairs, or as a whole, the dancers are utterly watchable, and two of the foursome can be credited with choreography as well as performance. Pictures We Make comes from Company Chameleon’s co-founders Anthony Missen and Kevin Edward Turner (Missen performed), while dancer Gemma Nixon forms half of the choreographic duo Goddard/ Nixon responsible for Eden.

But it’s not all plain sailing as an audience member; you must work hard if you want to appreciate this double-bill fully. The Nuffield Theatre is a compact space and the artists were at times no more than one or two metres away from the front row. The dancers would also favour the positions of down stage right and down stage left (the stage corners nearest the audience), often at the same time. This, along with the close proximity of dance space and audience space, resulted in a ‘tennis match’ effect on the audience – I hope nobody on the front row came away with a sore neck! I wanted to take everything in but, as I am not blessed with panoramic vision nor had I opted for a seat farther back, I was forced to split my attention. All the more reason to see the performance again. And again.

But let’s regain a little perspective here; any audience concerns about the well-being of their neck muscles pale into insignificance when considering the sheer energy with which the quartet of dancers approached their performances (not to mention the gorgeous technical ability on display). The artists’ strength and control of movement as well as their openness of emotion drew you in to their stories. It was cathartic, and left me feeling as though I had been more of a participant than an observer that evening.

The fluidity of Eden contrasting with the rawness of Pictures We Make not only showcases the dancers’ wide-ranging abilities, but also acts as a wonderful advertisement for the quality of theatre available in Lancaster. If you are able to get down to any Live at LICA performances this year, you must. I have yet to be disappointed by a single evening there.

The only complaint I have is this: there were too many empty seats in the audience! I wish I could have simultaneously taken all the empty spots for myself; perhaps then I might have enjoyed every single movement, watched every single story unfold, without fear of missing a second.

Hannah Dial
11/11/13

Promo video: http://vimeo.com/60088546#
Company Chameleon’s website: www.companychameleon.com
Goddard/ Nixon’s website: www.goddardnixon.com

Tickets were priced (web advance): £10.00 (concessions available)
Future theatre / dance events at Live at LICA can be found here.

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