James Wilson Dance successfully explores complex themes with great skill and flawless delivery, though the whole isn’t always the sum of the parts.
The dancers were, of course, top notch. Effortlessly conveying power and subtlety, the performers displayed effortless control, gliding through complex and challenging routines with perfect flowing movements. From graceful leaps and smooth slides to organic, almost squirming, movements, a great deal of skill was on display. The synchronised group pieces were the most visually striking, while the duets did the heavy lifting in terms of exploring themes.
The flowing style was almost mesmerizing in combination with the chosen music. Somewhere between heavy Bonobo and melancholy Pink Floyd, the strong and slow rhythms lent the graceful dance an air of gravitas. I do wonder however whether the choreography was developed separately and the music added in later. There were times when the movement and music where clearly in sync, but for much of the performance it felt as though they were just happening side by side.
As well as aiming for aesthetic pleasure, it was clear that The Storm was seeking to explore themes and issues. Even with no words spoken, the concepts of support, anxiety and loss of control were clearly evident. Though occasionally coming at the expense of the flow of pieces one to the other, it was a good example of non-narrative grappling with themes. The music was well chosen to support the themes, and helped the piece as a whole build to a crescendo.
All the pieces were beautiful and skilful individually, though a little indistinct as a whole. Nevertheless, The Storm was clearly a high quality modern dance set done very well.