Juncture kicked off on Thursday night in spectacular fashion with the launch at The Tetley featuring work from Hugo Glendinning and John Avery as well as Candoco Dance Company. As the day went on the setting changed from the former brewery to the heart of independent dance art in Leeds and Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dance. The small theatre space gave life to a triple bill of solo performances performed by Gary Stevens, Lucy Suggate and Louise Wallinger.
Opening the night was Gary with his funny one-man family in Not Tony, a piece that brought to life an everyday family with the use of simple elements of costume and props to change scene and character. Simplicity is what brings this piece to life and allows the audience to have fun getting to know the characters with the help of Gary’s pop-out narration; accompanying this with his dry, old school comedy that reminded me of the Two Ronnies with Gary taking the part of Ronnie Corbett – the pauses and the implied allow time for moment to ebb then flow back into the well thought-out storyline. Although to me the piece seemed to become a little repetitive and some of the nice consistencies, such as the way in which he put on the wig, were lost, the piece was a huge success with industry professionals drawing on his micro-acting as just one example of his brilliance.
Following the detailed storytelling shown in Not Tony was the exquisite dancing of Lucy Suggate with her piece Liquid Gold. Lucy takes the audience on the beautiful journey of gold melting from its solid state down to its smooth running yet full bodied liquid form. Liquid Gold brings out all the elements of dance from lighting and costume to the expert use of techniques that would most likely be seen in street dance with her use of locking and waving to show the transition of states. With the lights starting low and building, it gave the feeling of warmth; this mixed with the all-gold leotard worn by Lucy, I almost forgot that I was watching a dancer and started to drift into looking at the performance like I was watching gold in a melting furnace. The piece was followed by the interval in which all I could think about was the way in which Lucy moved and the connection made once the music had stopped and she carried on moving with just the sound of her breath filling the space. It felt as if the room could have contained only me or 3000 people and the effect would still be the same, every person transfixed by Lucy.
Following the interval was a piece of ‘verbatim theatre’ by Louise Wallinger called Annoying The Neighbours, a piece which tells the stories of quarrelling neighbours, noise officers and council workers. Within minutes of the piece starting Louise had the audience in stitches with her embodiment of the people interviewed, with each character being as different from each other as the people themselves, with her use of physical movement as well as the change in her voice (this in complete contrast to the style used in Not Tony). I can’t help but think that the piece would translate perfectly into a tv show much like those already on Channel 4 but at the same time you’re transported to a little community hall in a neighbourhood you have just moved into and everything has finally come to the boiling point and people are getting their troubles out.
After just one day of the festival you can already see the genius of Wendy Houstoun in bringing together such an outstanding group of performers together. Juncture 2014 is already an outstanding achievement for Yorkshire Dance and I can only see it getting better and better as the festival goes on.
Juncture Young Blogger