LIKE a box of liquorice allsorts, the Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre offers variety but with a single element, not liquorice but contemporary dance.
With four items on the bill, we were give classically-based dance, an electric solo, rock-based violence and a sci-fi extravaganza.
The latter came courtesy of Liverpool-born composer Kenneth Hesketh and Phoenix’s artistic director and choreographer Sharon Watson.
Repetition of Change was inspired by the world of DNA but don’t ask me to explain it. This was an abstract piece involving eight dancers in which music, design and dance came together in a bewildering but fascinating show.
Hesketh’s specially commissioned score titled Forms Entangled, Shapes Collided was of the dripping tap, percussive, screeching variety, very like music for a futuristic film, sometimes obscure and then exciting.
Against this, choreographer Sharon Watson positioned her dancers who whirled around, intermingling and forming shapes and patterns, one assumes like a DNA system.
But adding to this was the design which included strange lighting, background light sequences and costumes which spread across the stage.
It was all quite mesmerising, beautifully conceived and wonderfully odd.
British veteran choreographer of modern dance Richard Alston contributed All Alight, a classically-based dance piece with Ravel’s sonata for violin and cello as its musical base.
A sunny work which suggested pastoral dance with four male and three female dancers swaying gently to the music, it was a tender and compassionate open to the evening.
Very different was a solo titled Ki from choreographer Jose Agudo and danced by Josh Wille, inspired it is said by the life of Genghis Khan.
Using an electronic score by Italian composer Vinz, it was a tense piece in which the bare-chested dancer came slowly to life before becoming highly pugnacious and working himself into a frenzy. It was alarming.
As was Tender Crazy Love by choreographer Douglas Thorpe, a highlight in which Sandrine Monin and Phil Sanger danced an aggressive love duet to rock music.
Both tender and violent, it was a frightening dance and one feared for the performers.