Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT), Scotland’s national contemporary dance company, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Known as the Dundee Rep Dance Company until 1995, the company has a state of the art dance studio at their base in the Dundee Rep Theatre that has enabled the company to extend its links both close to home, within the local community, and with choreographers across the globe.
The performance at this year’s fringe is comprised of three pieces, two choreographed by members of the company and the third by award winning New York-based choreographer, Kate Weare
A Little Shadery, choreographed by Sally Owen Assistant Director of SDT, is a duet between two females and explores the nature of friendship. Set to ‘Never Has There Been a Shade’, an aria about a man singing to a tree from Handel’s opera Serse, it began with birdsong and the buzzing of bees against a white backdrop onto which had been projected the moving image of bright green leaves rustling in the sunlight. Only 4 minutes long, this was light, witty and uncluttered; the simplicity and cleanness of the movements demonstrating that much can be said with very little.
The second piece, Dreamt For Light Years, was by Spanish choreographer Joan Cleville who joined SDT in 2009. Another duet, this time between a male and a female, this piece depicts a couple whose relationship is in crisis but more broadly explores the nature of change in our lives. This exciting and beautiful choreography, danced with superb skill and strength, made tangible the inescapable truth that change is unavoidable and necessary and that this can be painful and frightening, as well as stimulating and exhilarating.
The final piece, Lay Me Down Safe, is an exposition of how our search for intimacy is centred around the body; its movements and our decoding of those movements. That the 8 dancers – male and female – were all wearing similar, skirted outfits suggested that sexuality not gender was the issue here. With fluid, undulating movement broken by a recurring motif of rhythmic, staccato beats, this extremely physical, at times almost brutal, choreography traverses our conflicting needs to both connect and to let go and surveys how we deal with desire and loss.
In the programme, the SDT states its aim is to explore ‘what it is to be alive in the world today’. This performance certainly sustained a sense of aliveness and provided much food for thought.
Show times: Runs til 28 Aug, 6.30pm