I saw the triple billed ‘Ascent’ on Sunday and was pleasantly surprised at the range of work on show. It started with ‘I Am-ness’ by Rafael Bonachela and ‘The Shell, A Ghost, The Host & The Lyrebird’  by Marina Mascarell then Antony Hamilton’s ‘Forever & Ever’.  I Am-ness was an intimate routine with a lot of close contact and definitely a good opener for me as I have little experience with contemporary dance. I thought the music “Lonely Angel”, meditation for violin and strings by Pēteris Vasks helped set the scene of an emotional drama with each dancer embracing or being torn away from each other.

It was subtle in that it wasn’t high drama but was full of longing and anticipation, but I am sure the anticipation was what held the piece together. The Shell, A Ghost, The Host & The Lyrebird was a journey which had me trying to figure out how it was all put together. There were ropes and fabric that created a complex web of interactions that were startling. The music Composed by Nick Wales I felt was another enchanting piece as it had bird calls that the dancers at times were in sync to and at other times it created a counterpoint to the efforts of pulling the ropes and finding a way through them as the dancers moved.

Forever & Ever kept creating illusions then at times breaking them with other illusions. There was humour, aggressive movement, abandon and startling synchronicity that seemed like a dance video with a few plot lines that came full circle in the closing moments. I think the way the piece changes so quickly and develops at breakneck speed keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. The lighting helps create the multiple changes necessary to keep the whole piece moving and the music by Julian Hamilton is the engine room. Let’s not forget the choreographed complexity that would test the endurance of the best dancers.

Overall I felt the whole line up was a great fit in that each piece was a world of its own. Pulling that off is an amazing achievement and I think I will be back for more quite soon.

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