Germaine Acogny & Malou Airaudo / Louise Lecavalier / Ben Duke

This one-night contemporary dance show presented three works from three different performers as part of the Elixir Festival which is currently running at Sadler’s Wells for two weeks.

Louise Lecavalier - Credit Gigi Giannella.
Louise Lecavalier – Credit Gigi Giannella.

The show opened with a new work, Common Ground(s), performed and choreographed by Germaine Acogny, ‘mother of contemporary African dance’ and Malou Airaudo, a beloved and familiar character from Pina Bausch’s original ensemble at Tanztheater Wuppertal. Common Ground(s) is a lovely, poetic and mesmerising piece, bringing together through dance the performers’ different life experiences so as to discover commonality and mutual tenderness rather than difference. When the sensitive music composed by Fabrice Bouillon LaForest moves to sounding like breath, accompanied by rhythm, a visceral, connecting bond is created with the audience. There is a short insert of text among the dance, unfortunately, this was difficult to hear even in the stalls. This created a gap in the flow of the piece which was otherwise an enormous pleasure.

The second piece, Minutes Around Late Afternoon, choreographed and performed by Louise Lecavalier was a contrast. This presented speedy, often staccato dance and shapes such as might be seen in a nightclub. The impression created was of concealment, discomfort and anxiety. However the music composed by Antoine Berthiaume (Lien 3), The black dog (Bass Mantra, Greddy Gutter Guru), Dawn of Midi (Atlas) brought enjoyable energy to the performance which otherwise seemed too long for its content.

White Hare, was the third work of the evening. Directed by Ben Duke this was terrifically enjoyable to watch, even though it wasn’t always clear what was going on as the amusing, fantastical narrative was told backwards. But what a wonderful dancer Christopher Akrill is and how beautifully he was partnered by Valentina Formenti.

This mixed bill provided an engaging and enjoyable evening for the most part. Some of the works were outstanding.

3 Star Review

Review by Marian Kennedy

A poetic and tender piece, common ground[s] is performed and inspired by the lives of two renowned dancers and, above all, women, mothers and granddaughters. Germaine Acogny, “the mother of contemporary African dance” and founder of École des Sables comes together with Malou Airaudo, who worked closely with Pina Bausch, performing leading roles in many of her early works.

This duet has travelled the world in a double bill with Bausch’s The Rite of Spring, and now performs in London for the first time.

Principal dancer of the Montreal-based company La La La Human Steps in the 80s and 90s and collaborator of David Bowie, Louise Lecavalier presents her work Minutes around late afternoon. Her extreme dance, filled with a fiery energy, caught the imagination of a whole generation.

Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Lost Dog Ben Duke, is creating a new work, White Hare, a trio for two dancers and a tortoise specially commissioned for the Festival.

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