NU Dance presents…’The Journey around the World in 80 minutes’ @ Djanogly Theatre

NU Dance show promised a tour of the world and oh, did it deliver. The show, performed at the Djanogly Theatre at Lakeside Arts Centre, featured dances from all its members, ranging from exquisitely performed ballet solos to wonderfully theatrical full cast numbers. The dancers completely committed to the ‘Around the World’ concept and, from the mock airline ticket to the tongue-in-cheek inflight procedures Captain Dan Simmons took the audience through at the beginning of the show, they really did produce a glittering, high-kicking whirlwind of an adventure.

The pace of the show was relentless with one dance after another but it never felt overwhelming. Both halves interspersed its group number with dance solos. The styles switched from interpretive dance to street to jazz, and the ranges in music were just as diverse. Despite stellar performances from all the dancers, the highlights of the first half were Georgia Attfield’s tap dance to a Lena Horne-Q-Tip mash up, the high-octane Korean pop band routine and the street performers’ New York routine. The diversity of the performances and the accuracy with which they were performed says a lot about the amount of effort and enthusiasm that went into producing them and explains why the show was such a success.

There were moments in some of the larger group numbers when the performances lacked the sharpness of movement and synchronicity of those performed by some of the more advanced dancers, but any clunky moments were outshined by the joy of the performers themselves. The cast’s obvious enthusiasm was contagious and in the end, it was the smiling faces that really made the performances shine. However, this is not to say that the choreography wasn’t brilliant. There were moments, particularly the Lyrical Competition Team’s award winning performance, where the routines were truly sublime. Street dance group, Rubix, should also be mentioned as, from the inventiveness of their routine, it is easy to see why they won first place at the Loughborough Dance competition. Captain Danielle Dobson also receives the night’s award for being in the most performances of any one person in any one show. She featured in countless dances (and costumes) and admirably invested the passion in all of them that you would expect from the society’s President.

Perhaps my only criticism would be that, although there were many ‘world’ songs, the emphasis on contemporary artists made the music choices seem a little confusing. Though this did not take away from the performances (in fact it made some of the more elevated interpretive dances feel more accessible) it did somewhat obscure the country the dancers were trying to represent. This being said, I don’t know what country has Beyonce-Skrillex tracks as their national anthem and NU member, Nicholas Lim’s routine as their National dance, but all I know is, I want citizenship now.

When the performance ended, I left feeling the two things every good show ought to make you feel; awed and jealous. Nottingham University’s Dance Show was nothing if not spectacular and is perhaps best summarised in the hushed words of the girl sitting behind me who said: “Am I the only who wants to just get up and dance?” No, you are definitely not alone there.

Phoebe Harkin

ArtsArts Reviews

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