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JSLN Dance Company - Salford - July 2017

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On Friday, thanks to this post in News I set off to find the Salford Arts Theatre to see a performance by the JSLN Dance Company.  It was quite an adventure - a theatre new to me and a company new to me ... oh and driving through torrential rain to get there!


The Salford Arts Theatre is bijoux to say the least but it had a lovely bar/foyer area.  The auditorium can't hold more than about 120 people.  To describe the stage as a pocket handkerchief was a bit optimistic - it is definitely the smallest stage I have ever seen a dance performance on.


JSLN is a peripatetic dance company of 8 dancers currently touring the UK.  Their tour completes with a 4 week gig at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, opening next week.


The programme we were treated to in Salford was entitled Variations of Pointe ll and comprised a couple of classical variations and 2 original creations.  Before the start of the performance, AD Soren Magnus Niewelt made an announcement that 2 of the dancers were ill so the programme had had to be modified.


The evening opened with Le Spectre de la Rose in a version modified to take in the tiny size of the stage.  It was danced expressively by Caroline Rees and Sean Williams.


We then had a pas de trois entitled La Sylphide.  Before the start of this piece the AD made an announcement that the lady due to dance the Sylph was one of those with flu so the role was being danced by Valentina Leali for the first time.  She was an absolute delight as the Sylph, expressive and with beautiful romantic arms.  Again, the piece was modified to fit on the stage and the dancers coped admirably with its restrictions.  I must say at this point that the sound system was excellent.


The first half of the evening ended with Mojo in Motion, based very loosely on characters from Austin Powers.  Before it started the AD announced that he had had to make changes because of the 2 poorly dancers and he provided a running commentary during the performance.  I would have described it more as dance drama than dance and it was absolutely HILARIOUS!!!  The sadly small audience was convulsed with laughter in places.


After the interval the evening completed with Consequential Gaps part lll described as a neoclassical work and danced to Bach.  Obviously designed for very small stages it featured 6 dancers in various groupings.  The dance tended to be in one place rather than travelling across the stage.  Mr Niewelt used the music beautifully and I really enjoyed the piece.


At the end of the performance Mr Niewelt joined the dancers on the stage and made a short speech thanking us all for coming and again apologising for having to modify the performance "on the hoof".  He then invited the audience members to take photographs with the dancers while he chatted with anyone who wanted to.  The children in the audience were delighted.


I thoroughly enjoyed this pleasant evening and I wish the company well for their Edinburgh Fringe performances and beyond.




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