It was a night of art, a night of dance. It was ArtDance Gibraltar 2019. It was an exciting energy driven night in the open air in the heart of town. The two hour show was free and although well attended it certainly deserved a larger audience.
ArtDance has been with us for three years and on each occasion the event has presented new challenges. This time the main show was on a portable stage at John Mackintosh Square, the Piazza – the backdrop, Parliament.
The week had already seen a series of workshops introducing various aspects of dance, theatre and lighting.
Saturday’s show proved to be of great variety with strong emphasis on male dancers occupying the stage throughout the evening presenting contemporary work in very unique ways. There were local performers from Art In Movement but predominantly the night was one with an international essence.
The show opened with a young crew of enthusiastic street dancers of both girls and boys each given a chance to shine. Innovations no strangers to Rock audiences brought their flamenco theme. To add to the mix there followed an original piece ‘Bitter Earth’ by Art In Movement Modern Dance School choreographed by the directors of ArtDance Nathan Conroy and Joelle Montegriffo.
The international acts kicked off with some Spanish break dance and the bboys Southern Kids Crew with an African mystic theme added colour to great effect. The use of lights and colour started to break through at around 8.50pm…. in what can only be described as a very bright evening.
Next came a sensitive and intriguing piece by the Art In Movement Contemporary Dance Adults choreographed by Joelle Montegriffo with some familiar faces including Zoe Bishop. It is always good to see our young professionals performing on a local stage.
Then there followed three very different acts. A London based trio proving they are pushing the boundaries in their blend of dance and theatre Wayward Thread showed why their performances are in demand world-wide. An original sound/music sound track with a strong monotonous drone allowed for a powerful contact dance with elements of force and violence. The work Red INK highlights the precarious lives of journalists and dissident artists with strong emphasis on their struggles against the state. This was certainly a work for our times both effective and thought provoking.
Next came what I can only describe as the fun part of the night. In fact I could have watched them all night.
Slick, precise and thoroughly entertaining – this hip hop break dancers from Blackpool, the Free Fly Crew proved popular with the crowd. This based bboy crew specialize in breakdancing (bboying) and beatboxing. They were fun, added humour and were full of positive energy. I wanted more. The organisers should get them back next year.
Then a small part of Cirque de Solie (he is a former member) came to town in the form of David Vento, a Spanish dancer, performer and acrobat who specialises in bboying and Cyr Wheel. With a super large wheel David captured our imagination as he elegantly moved across the stage filling the space to great effect.
Another elegant and intense piece ‘No sin mis huesos’ celebrated the work and 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes. Iron Skulls Co from Barcelona are always a real treat to watch.
They are all solid dancers presenting a solid performance and on this occasion they did not disappoint – perhaps a little long for the cold night which had developed – but their skilled dance with sensitive lighting proved a wonderful experience.
Overall it was a night of contemporary dance at its best. If you missed it… you missed a good night.