Particle Velocity was a new show of four breathtaking choreographies from Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre, and one of the big name highlights of the LEAP contemporary dance festival, on now.
A mixed bag of music and movement, while not everything may be to your palate, an evening with Phoenix is a fantastic introduction to the endless potential of contemporary dance. The first work, All Alight, was an almost traditional, highly balletic piece involving the whole company of seven male and female dancers. Scored to Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello and choreographed by Richard Alston, one of the best known figures in the field, it set out the stall of the evening with a striking beauty and simplicity.
The most captivating dance of the evening was a solo by Josh Ville, entitled Ki and inspired by the story of Gengis Khan. The ten minute piece saw the dancer emerge as if newly born, to grow stronger, more graceful and eventually into a warrior.
Duet Tender Crazy Love was inspired by the soundtracks of Tarantino to tell the story of an intense relationship. Although the movements were sharp, eyecatching and well-excecuted, the dancers lacked the smouldering chemistry that was arguably required – I would have liked to have seen Tmesis’s take on this, for example. The visual highlight, a shower of white and red petals onto the stage (pictured) elevated the piece.
The final piece, Repetition of Change, featured an especially commissioned score from celebrated, Liverpool-born composer Kenneth Hesketh and used dance to explore the intricate world of DNA. With a striking costume becoming a backdrop, the ensemble dressed in smocks and with lighting almost rendering them genderless, the dancers battled and aligned in an eye-catching work of physicality.