Saturday, January 28, 2006


It's been too long since I went to see contemporary dance. And I'm very glad I did today. Two of my friends, a colleague of mine, and my next door neighbour, danced in the new production of the Cambridge University Contemporary Dance Workshop (CUCDW), called "Touch".

"Touch" is the fourth annual show of CUCDW, and the ADC was sold out. I have known for long that the quality of student music and theatre productions is very high here, and this show confirmed that this also goes for dance.

"Touch" is "an evening of eclectic and original dance which explores the importance of contact at all levels of life". As an annual showcase of the various workshops and classes of CUCDW, the show presented a whole range of acts, from exquisite flamenco to hiphop, breakin' and ballet. To tie it all together, the show was loosely bound to five groups, Isolation, Surroundings, People, Cultures, and Finale. Between each there was a small interlude. About 30 dancers, ranging from former professionals to relatively novice performers, 20 choreographers, and a minimalist stage with beautifully orchestrated lights made up the "machinery" behind the event.

To me, the best thing about dance is the energy. Of course the grace and aesthetic pleasure of it are important, but there is something in the intensity and passion of it that really captures me. Seeing a performance can bring a lot of positive energy for a long period of time, if it is good. This was. And even though the theme of the show, touch, or contact, was only very loosely holding the components together, there was still a nice flow to it. Because more than about contact, to me it was about interaction. And this is what I mean by intensity. At the best acts, you could almost see the energy flow between the dancers, being stretched, snapped, then recaptured. Touched me.

P.S. But not everyone agreed: I overheard two guys in the loo on the interval, the discussion was pretty much to this effect:
"How are ya?"
"Yeah, so boring."
"Well, gotta suffer."

I hope your dance-loving girlfrends leave you idiots soon. :-)

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