In – Nocentes — National Youth Dance Company | Michael Keegan-Dolan

  • Dance Theatre
  • By The National Youth Dance Company
  • Director: Michael Keegan-Dolan
  • Sadler’s Wells, London
  • 7 April 2016 then on UK Tour
  • Review by Munotida Chinyanga
  • 9 April 2016
In – Nocentes — National Youth Dance Company | Michael Keegan-Dolan
4.0Reviewer's Rating

In-Nocentes is an original production by The National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) that explores the experience of one’s body when moved by different melodies. It is less about precisions, or the perfection of techniques but more about the free body, the freedom to experience and a central focus on what moves the dancers as opposed to how the dancers moves. With a company of 40 dancers, the choreography is a mixture of elements taken from all types of genres, including ballet, contemporary dance, street dance and even voguing, there is a clear sense of individualism and passion, which is achieved through the incorporation of  varying styles. With the assistance of the Southbank Sinfonia, composer Max Richter revisits Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and instead of serving as a background to the choreography, the string composition plays a massive part in driving the movement sequences. The dancers also create beats and sounds vocally and through the use of their bodies, demanding the attention of the audience as their projection resonates in the auditorium.

A short projected documentary starts the show and takes us through the journey of the dancers, all they have learned, their goals and achievements and why they are doing what they are doing and most importantly the creation of In-Nocentes itself, this idea of music leading movement, and these movements being as human as possible, which is exactly the feeling you get when watching the performance. The performance space is open with seats in a semi-circle for the dancers, there is no off stage or huge set constructions, it is empty, it is clear.  Making the dancers truly exposed and vulnerable as they perform sequences in varying group sizes and even solo’s. The performance in terms of style and meaning reflects Pina Bausch and even work by the Hofesh Shechter Company. The dancers do well in showing individual personalities as well as working as an ensemble and from this we see really comedic moments but also some dark and emotional moments. Michael Keegan-Dolan’s ability to shape the space, through this choreography that represents; innocence, and centralises the instinct of young people but also celebrates the bravery of the youth is something that can not be described but felt through watching this raw and original piece.

In-Nocentes will now be on a national tour, with further dates to be announced: Sunday 26 June: Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham, Saturday 3 July: Dance City, Newcastle, Sunday 4 July: Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds, Friday 8 July: The Lowry, Salford, Tuesday 19 July: Jerwood Dance House, Ipswich, Thursday 21 July: Falmouth University, Saturday 23 July: Mac, Birmingham.


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