Review: Company Chameleon – Double Bill

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Formed of two dancing and choreographing men with limitless energy and strength, Company Chameleon began in 2007 after the two had trained in contemporary dance together. The two women in the dance also studied alongside them at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

They began with a piece called ‘Eden’, placing themselves in a mysterious interior world that isn’t clearly explained any further, an abstract and bare space. Upon a smokey stage the two men walked toward the audience, and intimate solitary lighting came from the flame of a match, lit in front of a face. A duet followed that played with perfect unison and strong contact work. It created images that shifted and slid across different levels to a pre-recorded music score of strings, keyboard and electronic sounds. Two women joined, however we perhaps were to think of the dance as two people rather than four, as both men wore identical costumes and so did the women. A thin shard of light crossed the stage and acted effectively as an interesting divider of the space, performers and at one point suggesting a mirror. Imagery and movement much like that of a clock and its workings came from circular motion, each dancer taking up the others negative space and the cause and effect relationships between them. Exaggerated stretched out facial expressions and slightly lighter music came as a humorous highlight to the serious faces of the rest of the piece that did not look fully justified. Despite the interlude ‘Eden’ does not have a clear feeling of story, resolve or growth and the ending left me with nothing new.

The second in the double bill is a piece called ‘Pictures We Make’ exploring the past relationship dynamics of members in the company. Imaginative contact work pulled and pushed each dancer around the stage from all parts of their body. Interrogative square spotlights of cold colour were cast down on to the stage which now bore four chairs. Dancers tumbled and were caught and dragged through the life of the dance to music similar to that of Eden’s with suggestions of clockwork and time but with a more sinister tone. The quartet intertwined complete synchronicity and canon sometimes indistinguishably, and this was a strength throughout both of the works in the double-bill. Their awareness of each other was astounding; timing, strength and agility is clearly prided in this company. It is interesting to note that the rehearsal director began her career training in Shaolin Kung Fu which I think is apparent in the performers execution.

Unfortunately only in brief moments did I feel empathy or that I could follow the stories being told. The plots were not clear but themes of independence and dependance in the choreography ran throughout. The work did not take on much of a shape as a whole, the timing dynamics were very repetitive and unexciting. I did not feel scared for them or shocked, despite so much technical movement. This is a shame because the standard of the dancers and the choreography should have had me leaving the theatre with my heart beating faster than when I entered, but it unfortunately did not.

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