There is no doubt, once you've seen them swagger and zip across the stage, that Cedar Lake are a North American company. There is a particularly muscular enthusiasm that infuses all three of the pieces on show, like a piece of New York has been dropped smack bang in the middle of a rather drizzly Leicester, and the audience lap it up.
We are introduced to the company with the opening piece Indigo Rose by Jiří Kylián, which is a comic and, at times, surreal half hour. It showcases not only the impressive physicality of the dancers but also makes interesting use of the performance space; a large sail-like sheet being used for some entertaining shadow play. Some of the energy built up is lost, however, by the overlong video sequence that conclude the piece.
The most restrained but also most impressive work of the night is undoubtedly Crystal Pite's Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue. Lit simply but dramatically by a ring of mobile lights, creating the impression of an arena, prison or perhaps a lonely car park, the series of dances between pairs is beautiful to behold. At times close to capoeira, the quite violent dances are powerfully executed; special mention being made for the extraordinary skill of Ebony Williams, who is captivating.
The final piece, Necessity Again by Jo Strømgren, although ostensibly French (the music and voiceover used being from Charles Aznavour and Jacques Derrida respectively), is again a reminder that this is a US based outfit; it feels like a Hollywood version of Paris, veering close to a pastiche at times. There is a little too much asked of the company in terms of acting and mime in this piece, and the pace sags a little. When they are just doing what they do best, dancing, the piece is fun and visually exciting.
The sixteen-strong company are excellent throughout the evening and the show as a whole is a delight. The appreciative Leicester audience clapped long after the curtain had fallen: this is a great evening of contemporary ballet.
- William Breden