28 February 2012
The Blanca Li Dance Company
Choreography and Direction: Blanca Li
Music: Tao Gutierrez
Dance theatre is different. The kind of ovation it gets from the audience dwarfs most other performance arts, as did Electro Kif tonight, and deservedly so. They had a good five minutes of ecstatic applause (and worked to it).
Spanish choreographer Blanca Li has assembled an all-star cast of Electro Dance specialists from the outer suburbs of Paris, and created this Electro Dance show. The cast consists of eight male dancers, and has the energy and power that all-male dance troupes have.
The “story’ takes us through a day at college, from roll call, to lunch, to cheating at exams, to brawls in the playground and to (even) a typing class. The cast vocalise throughout, sometimes forming the only soundtrack through vocalisations and percussive effects. Other times they perform to recorded eating and slurping drink noises, or to typing, or to a voice booming out an arcane maths lesson. Sometimes there’s a full electro music score, other times effects.
It’s hard to pick outstanding bits. It was very funny indeed at times. My personal favourite was the guy with headphones on, dancing while singing along in a high-pitched voice to music only he could hear. Eventually, the others arrive and join him with more vocalisation. Hilarious. The bright costumes lifted it too. Props consisted simply of eight tables and eight chairs.
The only slight drop was the duo sequence, doing the male aggression thing to piano and ambient noise (I think this was what they billed as “classical music.”) It added light and shade, but was duller than the full group pieces, and seemed to be striving to prove “and they can really dance in a normal way too.” They performed brilliantly (much of it martial arts moves) and proved that indeed they can, but conceptually I thought it dropped the pace.
Poole Lighthouse is part of the Dance Touring Partnership, and for a few years now, the dance theatre they attract is in the very first rank (would that they could do the same with plays and rock music!)