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Alexander Whitley Dance Company (Linbury)

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Foteini Christofilopoulou was at the rehearsal for Alexander Whitley Dance Company in the Linbury
Here are a couple of photos:

The Measures Taken: Alexander Whitley Dance Company
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
All That’s Solid Melts Into Air: Eric Underwood, Melissa Hamilton, Marcelino Sambé
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Set from DanceTabs: Alexander Whitley - The Measures Taken & All That is Solid Melts Into Air
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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my 2p worth.

The first piece felt like 2 'First Drafts' stuck together. The first section saw Marcelino Sambe thrillingly wizz around the stage, showing off what a super dancer he is - and what huge potential to be a great dancer is there. The second section was more 'balletic', if slightly off-kilter balletic. Eric Underwood with Melissa Hamilton (and Marcelino) went through what looked like traditional balletic steps, but without seeming to be utterly classical. Entrancing to watch. This would have been a really interesting piece had it not been for the screamingly awful music. I can't believe they set the dancing to that - more like it was superimposed afterwards. It sounded to me (and I'll readily admit to not being in any way an expert) like someone who'd played the cello as a bet, playing against a recording of someone else who was a complete stranger to the instrument. Ghastly.

Still, that 'music' was heaven on the ears compared to the grindingly awful din that accompanied the main piece, The Measures Taken. 'Soundscape' would be a kind description of a boring, annoying noise that emanated from the speakers. This really put me off the movement on stage - I can't say dancing, as to me, dancing is movement to music, and to call this din music is an insult to the word, let alone the art, of music. Some of the movement, and some of the lighting effects, were visually interesting, so it was a particular shame that the noise imported onto the movement, couldn't have been replaced with some music for the dancers to, well, dance to. Indeed, the dancers were fluid and engaging at times, although, as with so much contemporary choreography these days, much time was spent 'rolling around on the floor in the dark'. Whilst I can't say an old duffer like me was the target audience, if this is the way things are heading, I'll be saving an awful lot of dosh in the future. There is potential there for interesting choreography, I can see that - but the assault on the ears (and this coming from a rock/punk exponent) is most off putting, I cannot deny.

In my book, an opportunity missed - but as I say, I'm just an old duffer, and the youthful audience seemed to love it. Which frankly makes me glad I'm not young any more!

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I think I may have seen this - or something else of Whitley's work - at Sadler's Wells Sampled last year?  If it was him, I very much liked the laser work, but didn't like the migraine I developed as a result, so decided to give the Linbury a miss to be on the safe side.  Clement Crisp seems to have liked it, though.

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