After taking time out to research and regroup, Henri Oguike is back with a tour that runs until March. This is good news for the fans of the Nigerian-Welsh choreographer noted for his bold musicality and theatrical savvy. Stripped down to five dancers, his company was sleek and assured in a triple bill that received its world premiere in Cambridge on Monday.
The evening kicked off with Freq (pronounced ‘freek'), a mysterious and audacious solo for Fukiko Takase. Clad in a skin-tight bathing costume, the dancer was first seen in shadowy half-light on a wide raised platform beneath what we soon realised was a thin stream of running water. To the almost orientally spare piano music of Erik Satie this sculptural yet primitive nymph shifted position as liquid splashed off head, thighs and back. It turned into a curtain of rain and then a column that she curiously, tentatively embraced. As a finale, the light flickered fast while Takase kept moving, the drops like sparkling jewels until the illumination gradually slowed and stopped. A few technical glitches aside, this was a small but beautifully shaped work that in its poise and vision bypassed gimmickry.
Next up was Point of Contact, a leggy quartet set to a handful of Bach cello suites. Josef Perou was the lone swaggering male in kinetic flirtation with Takase, Stephanie Hodgson and Elena Zaino, haughty coquettes in saucy knickers. This piquant barefoot ballet was a piece of sophisticated cheek, a touch courtly and yet flecked with modern attitudes. By the finish the music had begun to work its way under the dancers' skins.
Oguike's most ambitious, peculiar work was the quintet Butterfly Dreaming. The score was Tan Dun's Ghost Opera, a playfully edgy string quartet supplemented by elemental sound effects and yipping or yowling vocals. Here, beneath tiered rows of small suspended lights, the lush, odd and not quite human dancers tumbled over or gripped the floor when not skittering across it on the balls of their feet. Although steeped in notions of transformation, this often striking dance didn't entirely reveal its depth or mysteries on opening night.
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Join our Young Supporters Programme today!
Are you young? Do you like making things happen? Then join us and be part of some of the most exciting contemporary dance happening in the UK today.
Your contributions can make set designs come to life, create the most beautiful costumes and enable defining new dance works to be made.
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