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National Youth Dance Company / Damien Jalet Tarantiseismic

The company of NYDC in Tarantiseismic. Photo by Tony Nandi
The company of NYDC in Tarantiseismic. Photo by Tony Nandi

This is a dramatic show performed on the Sadler’s Wells stage by the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC). There are thirty nine dancers between the ages of 15 and 22, most of them 17 and 18, from a variety of dance backgrounds, from disperate parts of the country, brought together to create work as an ensemble. Nearly all of the dancers are on stage all of the time.

There’s a lovely introductory film in which the artistic consequences of this ambitious enterprise is described by the dancers. Although they may have been daunted by the talent of their new peers at first, ultimately this made them aspire for more in their work.

Damien Jalet is the Guest Artistic Director of NYDC for 2017. He was inspired, when creating the choreography for Tarantiseismic, by Tarantism, a form of hysteria occurring in southern Italy between 14th to the 18th centuries, when men and women were being seized by a wild compulsion to dance for hours, sometimes days on end. Mr Jalet has combined this concept with the seismic force of an earthquake to suggest unpredictability. He’s created controlled frenzy on stage, performed by his dancers with immaculate emphasis, and precision.

The show builds with two of the most stirring sections at the end. The penultimate section is a warm, camp fire type dance around a drummer and his drum kit who changes what has been largely music of dissonance up until then into an affecting rhythm of regularity. The finale is a suitably moving end to an enjoyable evening.

There’s a first class creative team working on the show to create illusion and effect including Jay Barry Matthews, Natasha Chivers and Jim Hogan.

This is an enjoyable show exhibiting young dance talent of the future in an imaginative and appealing showcase.

Three and a half gold stars

Review by Marian Kennedy

Tarantiseismic is a new commission that sees Jalet present a unique piece of theatre which addresses themes of melancholia, ritual, control and abandon. Jalet’s revered choreographic style combined with the young dancers’ energy and talent is set to produce a mesmerising experience that shifts the consciousness of the audience.

This year’s diverse cohort of 39 young dancers comprises 29 new members, selected through NYDC Experience Workshops held in towns and cities all over the country. The dancers are mentored during three intensive residencies over the year, in order to create, rehearse and develop the new piece. Throughout the dancers’ time with NYDC they are given a unique insight into the dance profession, gaining skills and techniques that open up career possibilities.

National Youth Dance Company / Damien Jalet
Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN

Confirmed 2017 UK national tour dates:
Sunday 25 June: Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University
Saturday 1 July: Dance City, Newcastle
Saturday 8 July: The Curve, Leicester
Friday 14 July: Birmingham Hippodrome, as part of UDance 2017
Sunday 16 July: Latitude Festival
Tuesday 18 July: Jerwood Dance House, Dance East, Ipswich
Thursday 20 July: Middleton Hall, Hull

Confirmed NYDC Experience Workshops for 2017-18 intake:
Sunday 21 May: Hymers College, Hull
Saturday 27 May: DanceXchange, Birmingham
Sunday 28 May: Swindon Dance, Swindon
Monday 29 May: AMATA – Falmouth University, Falmouth
Tuesday 30 May: Sadler’s Wells, London
Wednesday 31 May: The Point, Eastleigh
Thursday 1 June: DanceEast, Ipswich
Friday 2 June: Marina Studios, Brighton
Sunday 4 June: Northern Ballet, Leeds
Sunday 4 June: Déda, Derby
Saturday 10 June: The Dance House, Manchester
Sunday 11 June: MDI, Liverpool
Sunday 25 June: The House, Plymouth
Sunday 2 July: Dance City, Newcastle
Saturday 8 July: The Curve, Leicester


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