Last night I went to watch Edge, London Contemporary Dance School's graduate company, perform at the Riley Theatre in NSCD.
I have to say that I was a little disappointed, and as a whole didn't really enjoy the evening.
Now, I want to make two points. Firstly dance students seem to confuse saying 'I did not enjoy that' with a criticism. If I say I did not enjoy something I am not saying the work is bad. I am saying it didn't speak to me. As in the case of last night, there were movements and performances in every piece that I enjoyed. But as a WHOLE choreographies I did not feel engaged. It is not a critisiscm. It is a personal choice. Except for Jeremy Nelson's piece which I did enjoy and thought created an amazing sense of flow and fluidity.
But I think my lack of enjoyment in the evening was also due to the programming of the show. Which leads to me to my second point - principals/rehearsal directors/dancers need to take responsibility to ensure that the audience don't get bombarded with pretty much the same thing.
The first time I saw Verve (NSCD's graduate company perform) I felt like the dancing was good, the performance was good, but the pieces were too similar in their movement vocab. And last night I felt again it was too much of the same thing
The first three pieces, so three fourths of the show, consisted of pieces that used voice and/or quite static and minimal/gestural movement (oh i have had such a dilemma about how to explain the movement. I always feel the word minimal doesn't do it justice. As I have blogged before now, all movement has difficulty within it).
In my naive understanding of how graduate companies work the choreographers come, do their thing, then leave. They don't know what come before or what comes after, therefore an outside eye is vital in ensuring a little bit of variety. Now, of course choreographers can't be expected to completely change their ideas, yet at the same time they are being employed by the schools, so a little bit of adaptation is not unacceptable. Or perhaps a more careful selection of choreographers is needed, purposely looking for difference.
My views on this are not purely to for the audiences sake. I feel that the dancers also suffer from such a similar repertoire. They are paying a lot of money to prepare them for a professional career. Doing lots of the same won't do this.
Perhaps my opinions don't take in to account the complexities of running a post graduate company, and we must remember we are taking about dance. Something which is very hard to predict the outcome of.
But I can't help but thinking an evening which mixed both Edge and Verve would be much more enjoyable!