The 2016 programme of JV2 – Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company’s initiative for nurturing young talent and engaging with young audiences – combines athletic physicality with Vardimon’s own particular style of dance theatre, yet none of the three works presented here really allow this 16 strong company of postgraduate dancers to show the breadth of their skill, either technically or dramatically.
Wound, the opening work by Ashford-based AɸE, presents a series of surreal, disconnected images – a figure in a red dress, a company of black faceless figures, a giant fur-clad form shuffling across a snow strewn floor. At one point a male dancer is left alone, contorting his naked torso into grotesque shapes, his stomach protruding like a scene from Alien. When this sequence of images breaks there’s a promising whiff of something more, but a speech on blondes and feminism fails to add depth. In the end Wound presents much but says little.
Vinicius Salles’ Human Marvels offers more but again feels in need of development. Inspired by the ‘freak shows’ of old seaside-town entertainment, selected performers present their acts with a wonderfully cynical air, cajoled into action by feisty ring-master Katy-Ann Robson. She has a marvellously energetic approach to her role but sadly fragments of her speech get lost beneath the club-mix beat.
Vardimon’s (in between), first created for NYDC in 2013, is the strongest work of the programme. Scattered tree stumps fill the stage, which the company stand upon or dance between, swaying to the continual swoosh of their exhaled breath. They twist and hurl their bodies into the ground, a tantalising glimpse of their abilities as dancers. The training programme may be an opportunity for these graduates to progress their skills but from this culminating tour you can’t help feeling that these talented performers have much more to give.