Aug 17th 1999
Taking FlightBackstage Theatre, Longford
By CAROLYN SWIFT
On Saturday night, six athletic dancers of ABCD Company worked themselves up for takeoff at the Backstage Theatre, Longford. Singly and in pairs, to the sound of roaring engines, they climbed and dived, banked, looped the loop and flew in formation during Sharon Donaldson's Taking Flight, the silver trousers of the men and tops of the women glinting metallically like planes catching the sun. It was an attractive piece, though lacking shape and development.
To celebrate the 15th Shawbrook Summer School, LD Dance brought ABCD from Leeds, and Donaldson choreographed a piece for the 10 dancers from Shawbrook's Course E, whose showcase opened the programme. Called What Came Be- fore Will Come Again and set to the music of Sacred Spirit and Artcore, it seemed to inspire this year's students to respond brilliantly to the challenges the piece presented. Indeed, the general standard was higher than any previous Shawbrook Showcase I have seen, and Anica Louw and Philip Dawson of LD Dance deserve congratulations for this achievement.
The students were well served by all their choreographers. Extracts from ballet master Niall McMahon's Celtic Mood to Bill Whelan's Damhsa san Amhan, which opened with a delightful duet by Sarah Reynolds and Robert Jackson (the sole professional in the cast), fully extended the dancers, as has not always been the case in past showcases. So, too, did jazz teacher Eric Carpenter's O, to TILT's Seduction of Orpheus, enabling the dancers to demonstrate ability and versatility. They were also fortunate to have as experienced an accompanist as Shaun Holmes.
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