Choreographers/Devisers: Christopher Akrill, Charlotte Broom, Clemmie Sveaas, Javier de Frutos, Didy Veldman, Luca Silvestrini, Mats Ek
Lighting designer: Simon Bennison
Designer: Fabrice Serafino
Reviewer: S. E. Webster
The Public Reviews Rating:
With years of professional experience in the dancing world, both nationally and internationally, HeadSpaceDance is a fresh and exciting new company formed earlier this year with two of Britain’s greatest dancers at its forefront. Both Christopher Akrill and Charlotte Broom have enjoyed dancing in many diverse leading roles, whilst working with some of the world’s greatest choreographers, including Javier de Frutos, Didy Veldman, Luca Silvestrini and Mats Ek. A combination of their own inspired devised performance and that of the choreographers afore mentioned heralds their debut work, Three and Four Quarters, which premiered earlier this year in the Royal Opera House, London and arrived in Leeds last night.
Returning to the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, based in Leeds’ Cultural Quarter at Northern Ballet, for whom both Akrill and Broom have danced, they were joined by fellow dancer Charlotte Sveeas to present their debut work.
A series of dances, solos, duets and trios thence ensued, each one of them captivating and thought-provoking. Combining traditional ballet moves with what at times feels like a contemporary style, the performers dance against the backdrop of modern concerns and anxieties ranging from the dancing profession to everyday cares and concerns.
It is impossible not to admire the physical strength and stamina of these dancers. They seem to move effortlessly across the stage and yet with such force and energy that it is clear only dancers at the very peak of their fitness could match them. For example, in Broom’s solo In the Skin I’m in 1, she continually and repeatedly hurls herself down onto the floor, indeed there is a lot of very good floor work from all of the dancers, each time instantly leaping up again to fly and pirouette across the stage to fall back down again. At other times, such as in the opening dance Studies in M, all three dancers demonstrate great poise, balance and control, wholly captivating. It is clear also that they are all the more talented since they multi-task acting and dancing at the same time, which is no mean feat. Their dancing betrays, or at least reveals real human emotion and their work throughout is thus undoubtedly genuine, highly believable and at times humorous and satirical.
Whilst all three are clearly comfortable in their solo performance they are most impressive when they dance together. The first and last performances in particular display a heightened and conscious awareness between the dancers without once losing sight of their own place within the context of the piece. The dancing is at times naturally repetitive and yet equally fresh at each turn. Not only this but beautifully synchronized and even hypnotic, the production is beautifully round off with the aid of sympathetic lighting and an interesting and vibrant choice of musical repertoire, ranging from Bach to Balanescu.
As exciting and inspiring as a full-scale production of 100 dancers, Three and Four Quarters is a breathtaking performance and HeadSpace is certainly a company to watch out for in the future.
Tags: Charlotte Broom, Christopher Akrill, Clemmie Sveaas, Didy Veldman, Fabrice Serafino, HeadSpaceDance, Javier De Frutos, Leeds, Luca Silvestrini, Mats Ek, Northern Ballet, Simon Bennison, Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Three and Four Quarters, West Yorkshire