REVIEW: Tomorrow Makers 5

Felix Sampson's 'Life Gets in the Way' IMAGE: AMber Haines

Six local choreographers are showcasing their fresh ideas in four new contemporary dance works.

Dancenorth’s Tomorrow Makers has been giving emerging makers a platform to craft enthralling pieces for five seasons now and the latest instalment doesn’t disappoint. The four pieces showcased in Tomorrow Makers 5 blend independent dance practice with full scale production to gift audiences with a series of deeply creative and thought-provoking work.

Polymorphic Utopia, Damian Meredith

This piece feels like an in-game world as players bounce about interacting with the ambiguous objects within their space. Shared emotions morph effortlessly from one to the next – fear, anticipation, relief, pride – reminding us that no high and no low will last forever. Are they really our own emotions though? Or are they drawn from the zeitgeist in an attempt to blend in and appease the crowd? This piece is brilliantly captivating with the choreography keeping viewers continuously wondering “what next?” and the total conviction of the ensemble making the heightened presentation of emotion a joy to watch.

roach. from Tomorrow Makers 5 IMAGE: Amber Haines

Roach., Tiana Lung & Issy Estrella

Tiana and Issy bring a fresh energy to Tomorrow Makers that feels like a sharp deviation from what I’ve come to expect from Dancenorth (not that I’ve ever really known what to expect!). roach steps away from task-based movement frequently used by the Dancenorth to something simpler, more intuitive and beat-based. The piece explores the idea of one solo performed by two in tandem. It is bright, quirky and an absolutely stellar choreographic debut for the pair. While the work feels child-like and playful, the dedication to synchronicity down to the final detail makes this a highly polished piece.

Life Gets in the Way, Felix Sampson

Equal parts comedy and tragedy, Felix’s contribution to Tomorrow Makers 5 is a comment on our inability to be fully present in an ever-connected world. The word opens serenely: four bodies tightly knit, moving separately but with an acute awareness of one another. As their world expands, outside influences intrude on the flow, and as the dancers attempt to be in two worlds at once they fail to be adequately in either. Felix’s choreography is beautifully touching, conveying the complacency, frustration and utter overwhelm, that can come from trying to be all things at all times.

Same Story; Dead from Tomorrow Makers 5 IMAGE: Amber Haines

Same Story; Dead, Nelson Earl & Michael Smith

Two like figures enter the stage. Stripped of their own identities, they busy themselves with ritual. It feels ancient. Institutional. Bigger than those performing it. And, somehow, ill-informed. As the dancers cast off their uniformity, hope springs. But we will always find something to worship. Nelson and Michael have considered all production elements equally in their work. Lighting, costume and sound contribute as much as movement to their truly unique and curiosity-piquing work. There are illusions here that kept my mind from never quite pinpointing what it was that I was looking at – and, I suspect, that’s precisely the point.

The undercurrent of the offerings in Tomorrow Makers 5 is the ever-shifting state of human existence. Audiences are sure to find moments for pause, moments for intrigue and moments for a giggle in this eclectic and highly entertaining collection.

Tomorrow Makers 5 runs 10 – 12 November 2022 at Dancenorth.

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