The whole production of NobulusOut of the Shadow is cinematic in its scope. The choice of music throughout the piece is populist in its approach; featuring extremely famous classical pieces and intertextual references intermixed with music from well-known film soundtracks. The first half (undoubtedly my favourite) focusses on the creation of life; the combination of the imaginatively choreographed group-created forms and musical grandeur reminded me of the Rite of Spring and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony scenes in Disney’s Fantasia.  The large and dynamic cast of dancers  engaging in acrobatics, breaking, ballet and popping and locking helps to create an energetic pace that is steadily maintained throughout the production, which adds to the filmic quality of Out of the Shadow. This quality, I believe, is down to the importance of entertainment in the piece, with the origins of break-dancing as street performance in evidence -there are even moments on stage in Out of the Shadow which feature street performance.

On occasions the solo performances seem almost glorious – the level of control and body awareness is astounding. The masked performer dressed entirely in white, supported by a blazing spotlight and the majestic soundtrack, is remarkably intense in his role as a god-like figure – with the precise choreography nothing short of awe-inducing. Artistic Director, Alexander Wengler’s performance is also stand-out. Besides his obvious skill and versatility as a dancer, Wengler creates an affable character that the audience roots for. His silent physical comedy again bears a resemblance to entertainment history, in the controlled and precise slapstick of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

Although certainly funny, the slapstick humour felt at times to be predictable and all rather obvious. This lack of sophistication could do it some favours though – breakdancing is perhaps not the most mainstream of dance performance types, and this form of translatable humour would certainly appeal to the masses and is perfectly fitted to a touring company. Add to this the storytelling aspect of Out of the Shadow, and it becomes primarily an entertainment – the perfect introduction to something new that is both stimulating and consumable.

Eleanor Jones

15th October 2013

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