Dance, physical theatre and circus: Contemporary?

Contemporary

Contemporary

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It’s all in the question mark at the end of the title. What is contemporary dance? What is it trying to convey? And is it enjoyable to watch?

Star rating: ****

Venue: ZOO (Venue 124)

After an intentionally slow, meditative start where three dancers lie curled on the floor in a foetal position, one performer finally jumps up and states: “This is boring!”.

It’s the first of many witty comments that come our way during this award-winning, tongue-in-cheek show from Lithuania. Dancers Agnė Ramanauskaitė, Paulius Tamolė and Mantas Stabačinskas are all high-profile in their native land, winning both dance and theatre awards and appearing on TV, and it’s easy to see why.

Their intelligent, and ultimately affectionate, dig at the clichés of contemporary dance works on multiple levels. First and foremost, the choreography and dancing are both sound – because how can you poke fun at something on stage if you don’t know how to do it well?

Secondly, the musical choices lead to some captivating moments, in particular a male/female duet set to Rufus Wainwright’s version of Hallelujah and a dynamic male duet accompanied by Bruce Springsteen. All of this and more is delivered with a stop/start approach, as the dancers pause to analyse and dissect each routine, discussing its merits in a blunt but supportive style. Should there be props? What kind of costumes should they wear? And perhaps most pertinently, what does it all mean? Their attempt at an explanation is particularly hilarious, but unable to reach a consensus, they finally turn to the audience for our input.

None of this would work if the performers weren’t so charmingly personable and so very good at what they do.

Until 20 August. Today 5pm.

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