Cambridge Contemporary Dance

Ruth Mattock 26 October 2009

Ruth Mattock hops on the good foot and does the bad thing

ADC Theatre- 11.00pm Tues 20th October


Lovers of high-kicks and TOTP backstreet stay away, this Cambridge Contemporary Dance performance doesn’t make a move without making a statement. Divided into three stylistically distinct pieces, the show delivered originality, fluidity and diversity with a small group of dancers and interesting musical choices.

However, it was a slow start. While the choreography of ‘Please, please, please’ was creative, the piece was a little too self-conscious to be unconditionally enjoyed. It attempted to express the ideas of ‘Memory, identity and desire,’ and the contrast of tense movement with looser expression was certainly thoughtful.

Setting parts of the piece without music was a brave move, but demands a level of exactitude difficult to accomplish even with the most professional dancers. Too many technical quirks made the piece disjointed, and left too heavy a sense of effort. Use of repetition in the choreography however brought out the individuality of the dancers, something that was continued throughout the show.

The Gathering, the second piece, made me want to shred my criticisms and bow down to the hip-hop/bBoy gods that are SIN Cru, the act that dominated the night. If a crowd of Run DMC-like expectations filled your mind at that sentence, empty it now. These moves weren’t only sharp and original, they were genuinely elegant.

Working with an age range that might have broken up the performance, the dancers varied style and intensity while always showing every dancer to the greatest advantage. If my jaw wasn’t dropping at the incredible spins and flips, it was chuckling at the wee afro’d chap who could break it with the best of them. The two integral solos were beautifully executed, and the second in particular was massive in both extremity of motion and control.

This was a tough act for the third part to follow, and while it didn’t illicit quite the same awe, it was a lively and charming way to conclude the show. Presenting different choreographers’ responses to four Beatles songs, it returned to contemporary dance with energy. Managing to keep the cheese at bay with quirky choreography, but allowing for a little Beatles nostalgia, the ‘Beatles suite’ was full of personality.

It is often said that Cambridge needs to expand its dance scene, and this show makes the case with aplomb.

Ruth Mattock