REVIEW: Geography of Bridport Youth Dance Choreography

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Choreography Geography, performed by Bridport Youth Dance, was a spectacular site-specific performance, set against the backdrop of Eggardon Hill.

It was performed by 22 dancers aged 10 to 18 on September 17 and 18. This ancient hill fort, with steep escarpments, roaming cattle and sweeping views of the sea provided an unobstructed view for dancers to showcase their performing skills, honoring this beautiful place.

As the sun set, the audience was taken on a journey; rolling peaks and light changes as the sun and clouds started to move across the sky. The costumes were sleek with flow to catch the wind, adding to the quality of movement in the performance. Mainly white and blue, with some in earthy colors reflecting heaven and earth.

The choreography was contemporary in its movement, inspired by the site but set to a backdrop of contemporary music interwoven with sounds and images from the past, led by live musicians and dancers. They have woven traditional aspects into the contemporary content of the performance, echoing the memory of past lives, woven into the present.

What a journey this show has been for the audience. From the beginning we were completely devoured by the commitment of the dancers. All were well prepared, confident and showed a deep understanding of the nuances of the terrain they were traveling over. It’s not easy to dance outside, but they negotiated the spaces beautifully, exemplifying their level of fitness, exercising intricate jumps, lifts and footwork over rough terrain.

The choreography took us on a journey from overhead views to flat spaces, choreographed pieces with perched dancers improvising and framing the performance. The choreographers presented an array of work, an intense dark choreography, improvised butterfly puppets, intimate and playful duets, nicely framed by the pink sky.

The tap solo was skillfully executed to the delight of the audience, illustrating absolute commitment and skill. She then led the audience to a ridge. Here the company of dancers ended the journey with 4 repeated forms, performed in slow contemplation as the sun dipped in the sky. A peaceful and serene ending, performed with beauty and reverence, honoring earth and space. As the dancers moved through the hills, a reminder to celebrate the land and its history, which Bridport Youth Dance has so wonderfully captured and celebrated in Choreography Geography.

This performance was a testament to the 21st anniversary of Bridport Youth Dance. Nikki and her team have once again managed to capture the power of dance and all that is to be celebrated in this world. Even a week after the show, it still resonates with me, so thank you all for this celebration of art, dance, land and community.

By Rachelle Green.

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