Dance review: Deborah Colker


BRAZILIAN choreographer Deborah Colker is renowned for her passion and energy.

Colker's background in large-scale theatre and music means she knows exactly how to entertain an audience, not least through her ambitious use of set. Previous productions have seen dancers clinging to walls, spinning on Ferris wheels and swinging from ropes.

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For her new show Cruel, Colker sets them atop a giant moving table and climbing through revolving mirrors. But while the athleticism of the dancers – and the dynamic choreography they're executing – keeps us hooked from beginning to end, Cruel has something deeper to offer.

Inspired by real-life stories of Colker's dancers, the show depicts the highs and lows of relationships. From the heady moment when love first strikes, through the turbulence of domestic living, to a calm acceptance that life's tough but we have to make the best of it.

Of the two distinct parts, the passion and drama of the first packs more of a punch. Dressed in evening gowns and smart suits, the dancers seek a partner, ripe with expectation. Then, leaping over, under and across a vast dinner table, they act out an abstraction of family life.

The clever mirror work that closes the show offers us different perspectives on the same movement.