BalletLorent 'Angelmoth'

Performance Reviews || Saturday, 16 December, 2006

lorent.pngFairytale fantasy has come to contemporary dance with the debut of 'Angelmoth' from BalletLorent. Don't let the company name fool you however, Ms Lorent's company is as modern as they come in terms of movement although some point work is in evidence even from the male dancers, a poor mans Nutcracker this is not.

The story concerns 'Pippanouska', a shy young girl who dreams of the titular Angelmoth whilst working in a library inhabited by a collection of disparate characters all hiding from the real world amongst the shelves of musty books.

The entire first act concerns itself with introducing all of the characters and establishes their reasons for being in the library. Story development is assisted tremendously by strong voice-over narration from an unseen Ben Crompton.

After the intervention of a mysterious stranger in the Library, Marius Raczynski, two of the characters vanish into 'another world' and our heroes step up to the plate and move in for a rescue during the second act.

The storybook setting of the library is accomplished with consummate ease thanks to a stunning piece of set design from Phil Eddols and the original music from Andy Ross creates the fairytale mood perfectly.

From a movement perspective some of the choreography seems a little underdeveloped and you get the feeling the dancers need a little more time and more performances to really grow into their respective characters. Particularly strong work from Gavin Coward, Gwen Berwick and David Rae is evident throughout and I feel sure the other characters will be just as strong as the work develops.

At just over an hour and in two acts you get the impression the work is slightly too short. An hour long show or less is fine for straight choreography but storytelling needs more time to let the audience become familiar with the characters.

'Angelmoth' is to be congratulated for taking contemporary dance into a much warmer place than it normally inhabits. The art form is often cold and distant and the use of an old fashioned fairytale/storytelling mechanism is a welcome relief in a year filled with superb work from many companies but often times you felt like a distant stranger when the performance was done, not so with BalletLorent.

Without doubt the work needs a grander stage, the Dance Lab at Dance City makes it feel very constricted, and on that larger stage this work should really begin to shine and the dancers can begin to flex their performance prowess to the limit. The Nutcracker took 50 years to become a firm winter favourite with audiences. With more shows under its belt and continued development 'Angelmoth' could become a regular attraction for audiences in a fraction of that time.

[ BalletLorent ]

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