Captivating, intense, and comedic are just three ways to describe The Knot, a dance show consisting of world-class contemporary movers. The story followed a unique take on the wedding celebration where the bride, groom, best men, and bridesmaids used their bodies to convey the different emotions that are expressed from an engagement to the wedding reception. It was a whirlwind of a show, with fast and slow moments, but one that was truly enjoyable.
“The dancers’ every movement was in tune with the beats in the music”
From the outset, I was enchanted by the piece of music selected for the seven performers to dance to. It was a gorgeous piece titled ‘Les Noces’ by Stravinsky, a style that evokes a Russian folk wedding. The dancers’ every movement was in tune with the beats in the music, the timing impeccable. Larger movements were created during the big crescendos and vice versa. It was wonderful to experience.
“It would have been better to open doors at least 15 minutes before the performance”
The general feeling throughout the 70-minute performance was an aura of physical and theatrical movements. The main criticism I have is that the show began whilst people were still taking their seats because the staff opened doors at 19:30 and the show began four minutes later. It would have been better to open doors at least 15 minutes before the performance so audience members were settled to take in the first few frames of the dance. In addition, the male and female dancers entered the stage from separate wings and began to dress in their wedding attire. This was a great way to start the show, yet it seemed to go on for too long and the exaggerated slow movements would have been as effective within a shorted time frame.
“The dancers were terrific dramatic communicators”
Nevertheless, the dancers were terrific dramatic communicators and I did not feel lost regarding the plot despite the fact that there was little to no dialogue (typical of a dance show). The use of lighting, complementary to the music, was also executed very well. The initial use of dim lighting created a relaxed ambience that set the tone for the introduction dances. During high intense moments, when the main female dancer was trying to escape a marriage proposal or when the bouquet was thrown, the lighting became intensely bright. This was very good as it facilitated the audiences’ focus towards big moments and helped make scene transitions clear.
One of my favourite additions to the show was the several comical elements that were included. The most memorable moment that portrayed an action with a touch of humour was the slow-motion bouquet throw. This scene saw the men and women fighting over the flowers, charging to reach it, and dramatically crying when someone else leapt for joy that they caught it. The fact that this was all done in real-time slow-motion generated many laughs.
Props were used within the dance, choreographed by Didy Veldman, to increase the element of symbolism that was integral to this artwork. Chairs were used throughout, but one notable use of them was when six chairs were piled onto a male dancer at the same time other dancers were stating words associated with what would make a good spouse. This was brilliant motif since is signified the pressures that come with marriage and the responsibilities that one takes on. In addition, the chairs were also used effectively as an archway when two people got ‘married’. This was awe-inspiring as it left the audience gasping at the technical skills in takes to make wooden chairs balance in a circular form.
Other fantastic ways that the props were central to the storyline was the white sheet as the wedding veil. This is a simple idea but conveyed relevant topic such as gay marriage. For example, one dance sequence between two of the men with this ‘veil’ showed the prop as a barrier that constantly separated them. This acts as a leitmotif for the obstacles that homosexual couples face with regards to marriage and the various things that prevent this.
“The performance was a brilliant portrayal of wedding celebrations through the contemporary artform”
Overall, the show could have been improved in terms of timing since certain parts felt a little extended however, for the most part, the performance was a brilliant portrayal of wedding celebrations through the contemporary artform. It was even great to see that they got some of the audience members on stage for a little dance during the middle of the show. An interactive, compelling, and amazing performance that is definitely highly recommended.
Featured Image courtesy of Nottingham Lakeside Arts Official Facebook Page.