Reviewed by Emily Park
Review Date: 13/03/15

Northern Platforms

from Dance City


On March 5, Dance City once again played host to an annual showcase of the best dance talent that the North East, Yorkshire, North West and Scotland have to offer.

Northern Platforms is an event that focuses a spotlight on new dance works and the next big ideas in performance across the North. Made up of 10 to 15-minute-long pieces, it offers up-and-coming performers the chance to show off their skills in front of a supportive audience.

Among the five short performances were two that were created by people working within the North East.

Neville Campbell, a choreographer based in the region, brought an excerpt of his new work to the stage. Entitled S…m…other, the piece looked closely at the relationship between a mother and a family of sisters. The House of Bernard Alba, a play by Garcia Lorca, was the starting point and a short period of research informed the work.

Combining beautiful choreography with thought-provoking dialogue produced a powerful piece, which is especially important considering the topics that were covered. Campbell worked alongside poet Michelle Sally Clarke and used poetry as a choreographic influence. The aim was to explore some of the complex issues that those of dual or bi heritage may face while growing up in a multicultural society.

The talent of the young dancers who played the sisters was undeniable. The eight girls worked wonderfully together to create the impression of a family unit. The routine began with a section that saw them perform a short sequence alone, one after the other. All dressed quite formally in black and white, they’re clearly a team. Although, the individual strength and brilliance of each dancer remains quite clear throughout.

The majority of the dialogue in the piece comes in the form of a poem recited by the mother of the girls. It effectively added to the drama of the piece and told a story that would have been difficult to convey through dance alone. The excerpt of S…m…other was beautiful and emotive and it’s almost guaranteed that Campbell’s entire work is just as fantastic.

Also born in the North East was a second performance called Land. Produced by dance company Fertile Ground, it’s a playful piece performed by a young duet from the dance company.

Not only was the routine created in the region, but it also serves as a celebration of what the Tyne and Wear area has to offer.

Having drawn inspiration from landscapes and the like, it paints a fantastic picture of what it’s like to live in the area and make memories along the way. And, although it was the shortest piece of the night, Land was full of heart.

Both of the pieces from North East choreographers were enough to make an audience proud of the area. With some startling talent on display and a routine that was created in celebration of Tyne and Wear, Northern Platforms was an event that gave the North the recognition it deserves.