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Adventures in Motion Pictures, RSAM

Athenaeum, Wed 6 July. ~ ._

This eight-person modern dance-theatre group nabbed their name trom an airline headphone packet. Shame, not even a year old and stealing already. Seriously, the AMP dancers l have seen have themselves been serious, witty and original, within the company's own hybrid, boundary-breaking terms. The keynote seems to be a diversity of styles.

AMP was lormed last July by a handful at professional graduates from London's Laban Centre. Although they lack an administrator as yet, they have got a trio of resident choreographers, a promising educational programme and a clutch of lavourable reviews. Their Scottish premiere bosts live dancers, two never seen betore. Guest choreographerJacob Marley’s ‘Does Your Crimplene Go All Shiny When You Rub?“ tops AMP’s established hit parade. Set in a time-warp club for mislit deadbeats. the piece teatures prototypical elevator music by Mantovani and the dated propulsions of ABBA. It was co-costumed by Dxtam.

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Company member Matthew Bourne’s ‘Overlap Lovers' has been accurately pegged as a high voltage post-modern tango display. The last, sizzling choreography is as old as the dancer's black and red designs. Bourne is also represented by ‘Buck and Wing', a dance challenge for two women based on tap dance (that's the title’s derivation) but minus the taps. It and a complicated new group piece by company member David Massingham are the bill’s unknown quantities.

I've missed seeing guest choreorgrapherJulia Clarke’s ‘Grecian 2000’, described as a sort of dry dock science fiction version at the MGM underwater musicals starring Esther Williams, with a touch ol Japanese Butoh Dance-theatre‘s elaborate rigours thrown in. There are no dance steps as such; instead the movement is ceremoniously slow and lrequently in unison. Got up in gold body paint and sky-blue costumes, one woman, three men and a giant egg take a journey lrom birth to death, and beyond. (Donald Hutera)

As it these clues weren’t enough, there’s the title, a clear indication ol the line the Dancers must tread between tunny-haha and funny-peculiar. The choreography, like the humour, is all based on the exaggerated, bell-jar oddities ol

character and situations. Twisted and


I Alien Arts Bare Feet Dance Theatre and Punjabi Folk Dance Group RSAMD (‘handlerTheatre. lpm. £2.5li(£l.5(i). Alien Arts is Scotland's first multi-cultural theatre. 'l'his “dance theatre spectacular‘ company and under their banner are born the Bare Feet Dance Theatre. They present a new programme of Contemporary dance choreographed by director .lulie Kilpatrick and the company. Sharing this double hill. the Punjabi Folk Dance (irotlp present work by Amrik Singh.

I “Russian Steps‘ RSAMD Stevenson Hall. b.3(lpm. {3(1‘2). See Monday 4July. I Geographical Duvet ‘What is This Thing Called?“ Third Iiye (‘entre. 350 Sauchiehall Street. £3.50 (£3.50). Geographical Duvet have appeared on a double decker bus at the Edinburgh Festival. .»\t Focus they're looking forthe ‘big Romance'. Duvet are a zanygroup making hay during the current trend which blends dance with other performance skills. in their case. song. poetry and points at the loy ehearts among us. picks at the the cliches of romance and gives an illustrated demonstration of how to undress in front of your hUsband. Music bouncing from Frank Sinatra to live a


I Compagnie Preljocaj France ‘A Nos Heros' RSAMD Athenaeum. 8.30pm. £4.50 (£2.50). 'Automatic. regimented. clinical. fantastic technique' these are just some of the words which have been used to describe the exciting talents ofthis young French company. lieros are dancing robots. unthinking. angular and moving to rock music. This British Premiere should be orte of the highlights of the Focus on Dance performance programme. Don't miss it!


I Peg Dance Theatre and Style Dance Theatre RSAMD (‘handler Theatre. lpm. £2.5()(£1.5(l). ()ne ofScotland's longest-running youth companies. PEG celebrates its 10th year at Focus. Style Dance features choreography by director Ellen Muir and the company.

I ‘Focus on Scotland' RSAMD

Athenaeum. b.3(ipm. £3 (£2). lrnportsare important. but equally. it is essential to use Focus as a showcase for Scottish work. Dance development in Scotland is still at its most active at the roots - community work. dance residencies and work within schools but there are several dancers working towards more activity in contemporary performance and choreography. What Scotland really needs

now is some specialised further contemporary dance education.

This evening of work by several choreographers. includes premieres by Rosina Bonsu. (‘raig McKnight. Fiona Alderman and Scottish Dance Theatre. I Geographical Duvet ‘What is This Thing Called?’ Third Eye Centre. 350

Sec Friday 8 July.

Sauchiehall Street. 7.30pm. £3.5(l(£2.5(l).

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I Phoenix Dance Company in Association with the Scottish Post Dillce Board RSAMD Athenaeum. 8.30pm. £4.50 (£2.50). All male and all black. Phoenix Dance have presence from the beginning. The company have an exciting workshop programme planned which reaches all over Glasgow. Check your Focus on Dance programme for details.


I Residencies Showings RSAMD (‘handler Theatre. lpm. £2.50(£l.50). Several ‘build a performan'ce' residencies have been simmering in the city throughout Focus. This is an opportunity to see just what they‘ve been up to. These performances are followed by an informal dance and education discussion.

I ‘First Footers' RSAMD Chandler Theatre. b.3(lpm. £3 (£2). Work by new choreographers emerging from colleges around the country (NB there are no dance colleges or further-educational dance courses in Scotland. apart from training with Scottish Ballet). lt'san evening where anything could happen and promises young. fresh experiment. Dancers from Middlesex and Leicester Polytechnics. Northern School of Contemporary Dance and a premiere by London Contemporary Dance School‘s Young Place students.

I Dansgroep Krisztina de Chalet-the Netherlands ‘Staunch' RSAMD Athenaeum. 8.30pm. £4.50 (£2.50). Last year. when I visited Amsterdam. people in the dance world were talking about ‘Staunch‘. It was the most exciting piece of contemporary choreography ofthc season. they said at the Dance Institute. Five men combat their space for an hour of physical intensity. Tough. powerful. with the rhythms of Africa. this exciting war dance by Krisztini de Chatel ends the performance section of Focus at high pitch.


Second Stride/Man Jumping, RSAMD Athenaeum, Tue 5July. Today's creative password is synthesis, and audiences are accustomed to its benetits. lt no longer matters, tor example, whether a contemporary dance group leans more towards dance or theatre. All we really want, or need, to know is ‘is it artlul entertainment? Does it deliver the goods?2

The members at second stride are leading exponents oi intergrated eclectisicm; goods-deliverers par excellence. The company was conceived as a one-ott in 1982 by choreographers Richard Alston (now head of Rambert Dance Company), Sibhon Davies and Ian Spink. The success at their initial ettorts warrented new work the lollowing year. After that Davies and Spink (minus Alston) persevered on a per project basis with a core group ol dancers. Davies, about to form her own troupe, hasn't actually created a new piece tor Second Stride since 1985. Artistic directorship and impetus has thus devolved to Spink, choreographer ot the company‘s latest opus, a striking, , evening-length lusion ol movement, music and sheer theatricality called, ‘Weighing the Heart’.

Form and content usually run a neck and neck race across Second Stride‘s

multifarious universe. This show was devised with designer Anthony McDonald and the hard to categorize avant garde pop band Man Jumping. In McDonald’s costume-conscious production, the dancers use props as well as a battery of movement styles, trom ballet and modem to talk and jazz. Yet it all coalesces as does their sharing the stage with Man Jumping. Ratherthan being stuck down in a pit or behind a curtain, these rock-lunk- sytems-swing musicians are a vital part of the action.

Second Stride is the sort of company that'll lay on a banquet but won’t eat it tor you. Cited as source material tor the show's lirst halt are the Egyptian Book at the Dead, the Hebrew Myth oi Tobias

and the Angel, and Mozarts’s Magic Flute. Although there are characters on stage following a narrative structure, the net dramatic ettect is expressionistic rather than explicative. In other words, it you read the extensive programme notes and still feel lost, don't worry. The piece is bound to trigger private associations. Just succumb to the flow at sounds and images and devise your own meanings.

In part two all heaven breaks loose as a number of deities- Isis, The Archangel Gabriel, Mohammed, Simone, Weill and others—strut their stuff in a kinetic blitz ot enlightenment. Two halves add up to a lun and challenging whole.

‘Heart’ is a remarkable, conscientiously ordered scramble ot ransacked global religiosity and myths, indirectly addressing the importance ol ritual as a means ol taking spiritual stock. Spink, unsurprisingly, has worked in Opera. Under his guidance, the show mixes the impassioned, stylised grandeur of older art forms with an attractive post-modern cool. The point may seem convoluted and arcane, but there are mountains at pleasure to be had from Second Stride's skiltul story telling. (Donald Hutera)

The List 2-1 June 7 July 1988 25