The idea behind Ignite is to be warmly applauded. Having teamed up earlier this year, YDance and Smallpetitklein have been working with boys and young men across Scotland, introducing them to the athleticism, diversity and fun of dance and hip-hop. Alongside this project are Touch Paper and Trigger – two works performed by professional dancers that ably demonstrate the unique qualities of all-male dance.
At this stage, both pieces are barely out of the starting blocks. Edges are still rough and, given the remarkable exertion required by the five dancers to deliver them, the requisite stamina has yet to be built up.
As the tour unfolds, however, the works should blossom into something both companies can be proud of.
Although abstract in content, Andy Howatt's Touch Paper comes with a hint of narrative. Each of the dancers is assigned a character in the programme notes – Moko, Heggie, Malky, Zinc and Davo – and as they emerge from a tent at the back of the stage, it's clear they're stepping into a role. A power struggle is played out against a blistering soundtrack by Quee MacArthur, filled with strong lifts and athletic movement. The dynamic shifts as friendships are made, lost and made again.
Thomas Small's Trigger follows and it's immediately clear there will be no let-up for these hard-working dancers. Flashes of humour mix with full-on choreography that once again allows the dancers' individuality to shine through.