The premier production of the full length version of Out of the Shadow opens with dramatic orchestral music, strong spotlights and throbbing black-clad bodies. The dark mass gives little away until a single white figure bursts out to guide the audience from prehistoric origins, through the recognizable trials of a modern life, and finally to a harrowing vision of the future. An ambitious mix of urban and ballet, comic and serious, classical and hip hop, this dance theatre show surprises throughout. Matching a rap-like, lyrical voice with eloquent body-popping, the narrator cuts an eerie and moralizing figure. The bold lighting, at times glaring into the audience, transforms the figures into symbolic silhouettes, and it is clear that the production aims to convey more than just a love of dance.
The themes and plot developments were not particularly original, but this, in many ways, worked in the show’s favour. A clever exploitation of cliché exploited the audience’s emotions. One moment we were laughing aloud at writhing worms, the next we watched the lead character, in a drug-induced frenzy, break-dance to bongo drums and manic lighting effects. The dancers flicked between playful and serious within a few notes, keeping the audience in constant suspense. The piece flowed flawlessly from one idea to the next, and captivated attention from start to finish.
The choreography was remarkably communicative and engaging; it portrayed relationships, complex emotions, and even subtle jokes seemingly without effort for either performer or spectator. The clarity of meaning, not always associated with modern dance, was a testament to the precision and brilliance of the dancers and choreography alike.
Out of the Shadow is a production of the highest quality. It will impress and entertain you, and, as the crew dance their way through an evolutionary tale, it may even make you think.
PHOTO/ Out of the Shadow