Step Sonic

Let me frame this review – this is my first dance review. My reviews are always based on the perspective of a ‘regular person’ in the hope that I can inspire someone somewhere to go and experience a new live band, go to the theatre and now… to check out dance!

When I was given the opportunity to do this review I jumped at the chance to broaden my own experiences. Then I thought about it, after I had made the commitment, and thought, mmm how will I do that? Maybe my first dance review should have been something slightly more main stream but life is always about pushing boundaries and comfort zones, so my first is within the ‘Contemporary Dance’ category… wish me luck.

To kick us off, we have a programme of two halves. The first half was ‘Step Sonic’ – a concept brought to life by Tom Dale which ‘aims to explore the hidden sounds potential in a dancers movement – to showcase the inherent visceral musicality with the dancer’s body and soul.’ This translates to the dancers are performing on a platform that makes a sound each time the dancer touches it, so a swish of the foot, the roll of a body, the tap of a hand, creates a sound and therefore dancers are moving to the very sounds they are creating. Jo Wills, the Sound Artist/Composer is on the side, as part of the performance, but he’s not dancing, he’s creating music out of these sounds. Looping them and making beats, making music and it completely worked added to this the dancers were continually adding sounds with their movements throughout the whole performance, it was a genuinely intriguingly delight for the eyes and ears to experience.

It’s electronic, digital music which I am sure Kraftwerk would have been proud of creating. The dancing was industrial, urban, robotic, harsh yet graceful, it fitted together.

There were three dancers: Rose Sall Sao, Juan Sánchez Plaza and Jemima Brown and they performed solo, duet and trio work. All engagingly, eye-feastingly wonderful. I liked the ‘lovers tiff, if I interpreted that correctly of course, where the ‘tiff’ was performed with arms, hands and fingers, and all still making musical sounds. The ‘trust’ track, where the dancer’s voices were included in the music, was fluid and astounding as the three performers intertwined falling bodies and limbs which were all caught – like the trust game where you fall back and trust someone to catch you.

The second half were three solo performances from each of our dancers, created by 3 different choreographers. Each were about 10-15 minutes each and were very different from each other.

‘Resonance of Air’ by Eleesha Drennan, performed by Rose  – I have to say, I wasn’t quite sure on this one, dancing to the rhythms of bat echolocation. Certainly interesting and the dancing was good, but I don’t think I connected in the way the choreographer wanted. ‘Escape’ by Jamaal Burkmar, performed by Juan – this had a more understandable concept and the performance from Juan was wonderful to watch as his body was filled with the emotion.

‘SURGE’ by Tom Dale, performed by Jemima, this was intense and tremendous. It didn’t quite matter whether I understood the concept, certainly to do with the modern digital age, however, the smoke and lighting effects were superb and the dancing was fantastic, I couldn’t take my eyes off the whole performance – loved it and wanted to see it again immediately as I couldn’t take it all in on the one performance.

‘We explore new ideas’ said the programme… well yes, they unquestionably did that and I am delighted I took the opportunity to explore new things too.

Cambridge Junction is a great venue and are currently running a ‘pay what you feel’ programme. Minimum ticket price is £2.50 and they are allowing the audience to pay what they feel based on their level of enjoyment for the performance – what a great idea to encourage new audiences. Don’t you think it is worth taking the chance on something new?