Dull Roots / Spring Rain, performed by the Dream Again Dance Company at the O’Reilly Theatre, Keble College, Oxford on 6 February 2013

It is a great achievement for a group of students to form a dance company and be ready to perform original work within a few months. The evening consisted of three new works, danced in swift succession, the first by Martha Masoero, the second by Emily Romain, and the third a collaboration between the two choreographers, performed by a cast of female dancers. Although only the second work was a “story ballet”, the first and the third had narrative threads that gave them their structure. They were linked by shared themes and the allusion in their titles to the opening lines of The Waste Land. Programme notes informing the audience of the significance of each work, rather than letting it emerge from the performance perhaps revealed a lack of confidence. All three felt like early works, in which the choreographers were trying things out, and the dancers still seeking their own performance styles, and the result was an interesting and enjoyable evening. (more…)

It’s always good to see students taking the initiative in the arts, and this is a great example. It takes little independent thinking to put on a Shakespeare play, though I’m not saying it’s easy, and still less so to do Pinter or Sarah Kane. To found an undergraduate contemporary dance company, apparently organising from scratch, must have required a good deal of determination, and for this Dream Again’s Artistic Director, Emily Romain, is to be very highly commended. But despite showing potential, the first show from the all female group, a mixed bill based loosely on themes from the myth of Persephone, seems less than it could have been, had music choices and some specifics of the choreography been better. (more…)