Marking the end of DanceCity’s month-long Dancing! The World festival, Departure Lounge is a mammoth showcase of regionally produced work ranging hugely in style and quality.
Accompanied by a sombre violin solo, Nicole Vivien Watson’s duet Uncomfortably Comfortable is a melancholic and wistful piece about a couple bound together not by love by a mutual reliance. In contrast, rising choreographic talent Helen Smith’s Kismet is absolutely electrifying; a series of Indian and martial arts inspired sequences, filtered through an urban sensibility and executed with laser precision by its five dancers.
Garner Harris almost ruins his solo One with his cliched narration but rescues it at the eleventh hour with a rousing, drum fuelled finale, while Playing Heroes Alone - culled from a full-length piece - is a disturbing and baffling journey into the subconscious, populated by shadowy figures jerking and stuttering like deranged clockwork toys.
The undisputed highlight is Liv Lorent’s La Penumbra - an exquisite miniature ballet, spiced with Latin spirit. Her three Mexican dancers are paragons of grace and symmetry, their performances enhanced by Malcolm Rippeth’s lighting design, which creates a backdrop out of their beautiful, oversized silhouettes.
If only the evening had ended there we could have gone home happy.
Instead, we were then subjected to abstract and largely incomprehensive solo Tear and even worse, Northern School of Contemporary Dance’s From What We Are Told, involving a dozen dancers hurling themselves across the stage, shouting the words ‘cheese’, ‘Tesco’ and ‘doorbell’ for no discernible reason. Contemporary dance has already got a reputation for being pretentious and this really does not help matters.