The company, which is currently celebrating its 35th year, is intended as a transition between school and a professional career. The chosen few experience performance in a touring troupe while working on their MA at Trinity Laban.
This year they reached London after a successful European tour with a triple bill of especially commissioned works from award-winning choreographers Hagit Yakira, Jarkko Partanen and Richard Chappell.
It kicks off with The Ar/ct of Moving Forward, Hagit Yakira's take on the hustle and bustle of life in a big city. The dancers stride purposefully across the stage, on and off and on again in a perpetual motion that sees them become a dense rush hour throng. One, and then another stop just long enough to produce a tilted arabesque before striding on. They ignore each other, until unexpectedly one hand touches somebody’s shoulder; and gradually pairs connect. Michael Mannion's lighting design appears to indicate the arc of a day; and by nightfall we’re left with one couple – connected, no doubt, but as frenzied as before. The dancers imbued the work with the febrile energy it required.
There’s no way to describe Lovers, by the Finnish choreographer Jarkko Partanen, other than seriously left field.
Transitions Dance Company, Lovers, photo Lidia Crisafulli
As the curtain goes up, a rectangle almost as wide as the stage is marked out by a line of small lights. Piled up at the back are what at first look like a number of black bin bags, but as Fay Patterson’s clever lighting design picks them out, they’re revealed to be human figures, dressed in outlandish silvery, glittery costumes (Fay Patterson), all with their faces covered. They can’t see. All their exploration of each other is done through touch, a first tentatively, then with growing confidence, finally in an openly sexual manner.
Initially silent, gradually an electronic score establishes itself; and then a disco glitter ball descends over the stage and everybody goes clubbing to the sound of Riahanna’s Diamonds. Lovers demanded of the dancers an ability to engage with the bizarre, to denote tenderness and humour, and they responded beautifully.
A more recognisable piece of contemporary dance, Richard Chappell’s When running starts and stops, closed the programme. Choreographed for eight dancers, it appears very much a comment on the current migration crisis. Dancers scuttle on to a twilit stage as if entering unknown territory by stealth. The choreography is entirely grounded, heavily reliant on plié, and very fluid; and as the work progresses, duets and lifts are presented as struggle. The climate of fear and uncertainty never abates.
Of the three pieces in the programme, When running starts and stops is the most demanding of the dancers’ technique and they acquit themselves remarkably well.
In short, this year’s Transitions cohort showed themselves more than ready to face professional life as dancers and we must wish them the very best for the future.
|What||Transitions Dance Company Review|
|Where||Laban Building, Creekside, London, SE8 3DZ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Cutty Sark (underground)|
30 May 18 – 01 Jun 18, 19:30 Dur.: 1 hour 30 minutes including one interval
|Price||£12 (concessions £8)|
|Website||Click here to book via Laban website|