It is good that contemporary dance continues to evolve and certainly ‘On Danse’ is an extraordinary innovative multi-media production. The music is that of the 18th century composer Jean-Phillipe Rameau but the production is most assuredly 2lst century.
As the choreographers Jose Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu discovered, hedonism, coupled with ‘fantastical escapism’, is what connects these centuries. In the 18th century court ballets “we saw how they loved to play with transformations and metamorphoses – like Circe, in mythology, turning men into animals as if by magic powers.” And the imagery in On Danse is indeed magical.
Illusion is mixed with reality. From the moment the show begins our visual senses are awed by the constantly changing imagery portrayed on a huge screen that fills the back wall of the stage.
Roaring lion heads emerge from statutes, metamorphose into elephant heads which then changed into a human being. Elephants walk on a tightrope across the stage. Vast figures dressed in 18th century costumes bounce seemingly into clouds on an unseen trampoline. Naked dancers waft across the stage whilst the same figure, now clothed, dances at the front. There is laughter as well when some of the dancers address the audience whilst doing their routine.
A vibrant, colourful, imaginative show with dancers flaunting a variety of talents – breakdancing and the like – On Danse did at times display a lack of cohesive choreography. But the overall effect was one of joyous energy.
Times: Final performance tonight at 8pm