ARTYFACTS: Breaking Convention - Day 22

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Breaking Convention - Day 22

This was by far the best thing I've seen at the Festival. It was contemporary, innovative, beautiful, exciting, energising and broke free from the limpness and stuffiness of some of the performances I've seen this year. What's more, the audience was young, very young, but they were absolutely thrilled by what they saw. Again this is in contrast to the largely 50 plus audiences I witnessed at many of the events I've been to (I'm 50 by the way). If live performance is going to survive we must get people of this age involved. This is contemporary culture at its best. It's a shame that most people in the arts dismiss this stuff as irrelevant - and are conspicious by their absence. They could do with just going along and experiencing things that are new. They're always saying that this is wnat the arts is all about. It would have opened a few eyes to how exciting young people's creativity can be when we go with their flow and don't box them in to fixed old performance conventions. Check out the excellent video review on the Festival website to see how these young audiences react to stuff that comes from their world.

First, the two comperes were excellent, jokey, funny and enthusiastic. I was getting a bit tired of the dull Festival book and music intros. 'Good afternoon laides and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome you all to...they will be signing copies of their latest book in the foyer". At times I thought I was at a wake! Compare this to the unbridled enthusiasm, audience participation (mobiles lit in the air) and general good humour of these guys and you have a fuel mixture that gets an audience from zero to 60 min seconds.

Locals nail it
The Brighton Company was truly professional with a swooping choreographed performance that matched the quality of the programme as a whole. Well done guys. You could tell that a huge amount of effort had gone into the rehearsals here. It was flawless.

The Cambridge Company were outstanding, first with the beatbox backed soul singer, a great kiss n' tell routine, then a breathtaking solo in a single spotlight.

The Electric Boogaloos (USA), may have originated 'popping' and 'booglaoo' but the tribute to Skeeter Rabbit was overdone. Starngely enough, this old school' stuff was the weakest (but still strong) link in the chain - although still wonderful to watch.

The the Brazilian popper Frank Ejara went off like a firecracker with different parts of his body exploding to sounds. Solo popping can be tedious but the choreography here was superb. He synchs his pops with sound creation building to a crescendo of sound which he captures in a bin bag, where you still hear the dull thudding. Sheer brilliance.

Exploded with applause
The French Company Franck II Loise did 'Drop it!' and were outstanding. They take the hip-hop conventions and take them way beyond what one expects into an entire work of exposure, and when they do stick to the conventions the quality of the dancing is so spectacular that the aduience literally exploded with applause.

Alive with dancers
The bar area was alive with local dancers doing their thing. Even the standing area in front of the stage had local kids dancing away. I even saw a two-year old doing some breakdancing during the interval. the people in their seats applauded him! Even on leaving the Dome, the crowd was noisy, laughing, talkative and on a compete high from the performance. Get these guys back next year....


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