Dance review: 8 Songs, Assembly Roxy

Gandini shed new light on their talents, and on our favourite songs in the process. Picture: Contributed
Gandini shed new light on their talents, and on our favourite songs in the process. Picture: Contributed
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Gandini Juggling is on a constant mission to find new and interesting ways to deliver its craft. We take skill and precision as a given with this company, it’s what they’re going to do with it that constantly surprises, as previous hits Smashed and 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures have shown.

8 Songs, Assembly Roxy (139) ****

This latest venture takes music as its cornerstone, inviting us to hear some of rock’s biggest names in a whole new way.

Each song comes with its own routine, not just in terms of ball-work, but how the words are fed to us afterwards. Once the six-strong troupe has juggled its way through The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil, Chris Patfield steps forward and delivers the lyrics to us as if they’re lines from a Shakespearean tragedy. Patfield is also responsible for some of the most impressive action, when he sets balls of varying sizes spinning on the tip of his fingers while Janis Joplin belts out Summertime. But this is fundamentally a group show, and it’s the moments of synchronised movement that have the biggest emotional resonance.

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The Velvet Underground’s Sunday Morning, already one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded, becomes somehow even more exquisite in Gandini’s hands. The simplest of juggling moves, two balls thrown with one hand whilst walking in a circle, is enough to render the routine unforgettable.

Not everything here hits the spot, including an over-long introduction that goes nowhere, but once you’ve seen what comes next, all is forgiven.

And the song choices, from Bob Dylan’s I Want You to David Bowie’s Scary Monsters and The Beach Boy’s Good Vibrations are a gift that just keeps on giving.

• Until 27 August, 4:40pm