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Terra Firma review at the Place, London – ‘a strong and diverse triple bill’

National Dance Company Wales' Folk at the Place, London. Photo: Rhys Cozens

Terra Firma, the current tour from National Dance Company Wales, features three bold and individually distinctive works, proving that this is one company worth catching.

Folk, by artistic director Caroline Finn, is delightfully odd. A pile of fallen leaves lie beneath an upside-down tree. Beside it the company group together, frozen as if posed for a photograph. When they shudder into life they appear surprised to be in motion a trait which, in combination with the individual quirks of each character, aids the work’s eccentric style.

As nonsensical as it is, Folk is impeccably structured. The timing of each new idea, and the way Finn shifts the focus to a specific moment of action, creates a richly layered and visually engaging piece.

Choreographer Mario Bermudez Gil spent four years with Batsheva Dance Company and the Israeli style is evident in his work Atalay. Contracted, pulsing movement vibes with the music and the four dancers perform with an infectious abandonment. It’s a stylish, impassioned work that strikes a deft balance between seriousness and silliness, softness and vibrancy.

Marcos Morau’s Tundra closes the programme. Dressed in cone-shaped skirts that skim the floor, the dancers appear to glide across the stage. It’s an unusual, distinctive opening.

Skirts removed, the dancers form a human chain in which precise, robotic movements spill from one to another. In their multi-coloured, patterned catsuits their movement holds a hypnotic quality, akin to staring at a kaleidoscope. Clinical yet strangely sexy, Tundra proves an intriguing piece – a fitting end to a strong and diverse triple bill.

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Three bold and individually intriguing works form a diverse triple bill