Dance review: Scottish Dance Theatre, Dundee Rep

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Victor Quijada’s new piece, Second Coming, is a reviewer’s worst nightmare.

Scottish Dance Theatre

Dundee Rep

Star rating: * * * *

For reasons that can’t be explained here, describing this choreographer’s witty, clever and engaging work with anything other than a string of adjectives would be like giving away the score before somebody watches the match.

Suffice to say that Quijada’s adolescence on the hip-hop drenched streets of Los Angeles, and subsequent training in ballet, contemporary and dance theatre, have produced a movement vocabulary all his own – and very pleasing it is, too.

There are no secrets in the second half of this diverse double-bill, but a whole lot of intrigue. Norwegian Jo Stromgren spent his childhood surrounded by, in his words, “wild nature” and “violent fairytales”. Clearly they had an impact, because his dramatic new work, Winter Again, features four (dead) animals of varying sizes and more than a touch of the macabre.

With a set and costumes that perfectly captures the off-white dirt of days-old snow, the piece was filled with fascinating, eccentric characters, with more than a passing nod to Stromgren’s other life as a theatre director specialising in Henrik Ibsen.

This is Scottish Dance Theatre’s first outing since new artistic director Fleur Darkin took over the helm last November, and she’s already made her mark. Looking better than ever, the dancers embraced these two highly theatrical works with exactly the right blend of humour and gravitas, with Stromgren’s work in particular showing a real international flair.