With artistic director Sharon Watson at the helm, Phoenix Dance Theatre start the year with Reflected, a mixed dance programme of four works.
Richard Wherlock’s Switch opens the evening. Six dancers burst into life. The bold colours of the costumes are in stark contrast to the light fluidity of the dancers. In a series of movements, arms extend as torsos ripple and then a pause. The piece progresses with beautifully crafted solos, duets and trios. At times the dancers bodies become so intertwined it is difficult to see where one body ends and the other begins. With a soundtrack of electronica and violins by B.free, Switch is a piece of visual delight.
Choreographed by Philip Taylor and with music by Amy Winehouse, What It Is follows the trio of dancers through their journey of relationships and choices that reveal far more than initially meets the eye. The lone female form, reminiscent of Billie Holiday, at first observes then interrupts the duet of the two men as they play in an almost club-like environment. The solo that ensues performed by Ryo Suzuki is both frenetic and subtle as he battles with abandonment and longing. It is a thought-provoking work.
Pave Up Paradise by Lost Dog is a work first performed by Phoenix in 2006. A duet based on the story of Adam and Eve, the sense of fun, innocence and uneven responsibility is evident. The piece with its tongue very firmly in cheek has a live musician sharing the stage and stands out with its change of pace.
The final piece of the evening is a piece of two halves. Melt is Sharon Watson’s fourth piece for the company. The first half is an ethereal mix of aerial work, nuanced with seamless choreography that is captivating. However, towards the end movement becomes disjointed and the previous sensitivity is lost in a flurry of dancers flashing on and off stage.
Overall, Reflected is a strong programme that will please and delight. And judging by the audience reaction Phoenix has a bright future ahead of them.