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Dance GB - Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 19th June 2012

Published by: Jon Cuthbertson on 20th Jun 2012 | View all blogs by Jon Cuthbertson


With the whole country grasped by the fever of the London 2012 Olympics, it seems like an ideal excuse to bring together our 3 national dance companies into one production in celebration of this huge event. Dance GB is the culmination of this plan and uses 3 separate works commissioned for the production to help display the Olympic themes of Faster, Higher, Stronger.


Dancing Parallel is a short film showing the work of young people in all 3 nations. Set to music by Andy Thomas-Evans the percussive nature of the dance styles chosen worked extremely well. Using “hoodies” and Converse boots as the “costume” it made what is usually perceived as the uniform of trouble something with far more value. Hopefully this video will be sent out to schools and youth groups to help inspire youngsters to see that dance can be exciting and tough. With touches of comedy, varied dance styles and exceptional talent it was an ideal taster for the evening ahead.


The first piece of live dance was from the home nation, Scottish Ballet. Run For It, choreographed by Martin Lawrence, was the epitome of what this event was about. Challenging choreography that stretched the dancers to the edges of their ability and showed off every inch of their athleticism created an explosive opening. Principal dancers Tama Barry and Diana Loosmore showed the sheer strength that a dancer requires in some visually stunning lifts. The entire company worked extremely well together and the third movement brought this new piece of work to an entertaining climax.


Next up came National Dance Company Wales. As the smallest and youngest of the troupes performing they may have felt they started as the underdog. However, with choreography by Christopher Bruce and an extremely strong dance talent of 10, they took gold on the night with their performance of Dream. Using a more literal representation of both the subject matter and storytelling, this piece had wonderful comic touches and interesting use of costume. Using inspiration from the Jubilee, sports days and Ravel’s Bolero it was the perfect fusion for an Olympic inspired piece of dance. Martin Boyce’s simple set design, complemented by Charles Balfour’s very clever lighting design, helped push this light-hearted piece straight to the top of the podium. 


The final piece of the evening was Itzik Galili’s “And The Earth Shall Bear Again”, performed by English National Ballet. Moving back into a more abstract style, the interesting lighting effects were integral to the dance on display. Corridors of light echoed the haunting opening bars of John Cage’s music. As the music became more frantic, so did the lights and movement. The one theme that seemed to run throughout all three pieces was the challenge on the dancers. The skills on display again were exceptional here, however the piece itself failed to match the “watchability” of the previous sections.


If this production’s aim was to display the motto of Faster, Higher, Stronger through dance, it has more than achieved that aim. These three works will live on separately, but the chance to catch all three national dance companies in the one production is not to be missed. The torch is currently travelling round the country, but make your own epic journey to see Dance GB – showing the true spirit of the Olympic games.



Tue 19 – Sat 23 June            

Theatre Royal, Glasgow


Thu 28 – Sat 30 June

Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff


Wed 4 – Sun 8 July

Grounds of Old Naval College, Greenwich, London




1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 6 years ago
    I'm really glad the 2012 Festival is reaching across the country! Sounds like a great production!
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