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Verve: The postgraduate performance company of Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Verve. Photo: Nicole Guarino Verve. Photo: Nicole Guarino
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Part of the Royal Ballet’s Springboard Season, in which young artists perform in the Linbury Studio, the enterprising Verve company of NSCD postgraduates promises more than it delivers.

Of the four pieces on display, three are operating in the same meta-dance territory – as the dancers questioned their roles and motives verbally as well as physically. This is irritating even when done by Akram Khan and Sylvie Guillem, so witnessing these textual interruptions from a group of anonymous, if personable, young dancers is even less likely to endear this spectator.

But there is ample evidence of burgeoning talent among the fractured, fragmented and frankly undernourished choreographic ideas. The low, floor-sprung energy of Kerry Nicholls’ Entwined is consistent – even if it isn’t entirely coherent – while Douglas Thorpe’s Dramatis Personae is a bustling, anarchic post-punk ballet that includes a powerfully erotic duet.

It is left to Protein’s Luca Silvestrini to bring the evening together and torque the individual expressiveness into something resembling a discliplined group. Forth and Last has everyone dressed in white with funny caps that make them look like mental patients; here, the mini-monologues slip more easily between the cracks in the dance, which is funny, sharp and tight and radiates personality both in the ensemble as well as the solos and duets. Typical Silvestrini, in other words.

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The NSCD postgraduate performance is high on energy and ebullient personality but choreographically weak