Top five trends in contemporary dance

Smith Dancetheatre's 'Agnes & Walter' Smith Dancetheatre's 'Agnes & Walter'
Posted: Fri Apr 13 2012

Time Out casts its eye over spring's new choreography and gauges what's trending in contemporary dance right now

Pop-up performance and cabaret
Maybe it's the financial climate, maybe it's a breaking-down of genre barriers, maybe it's part of the city's cabaret boom, but for whatever reason, there's a definite trend for dancers teaming up with other artists, in theatre, comedy, circus, burlesque, music and fashion, and putting on ad-hoc events and happenings in all manner of unusual spaces. These pop-up performance fests might be a little ragged around the edges, but that's part of the fun. On the flipside there are dance artists bringing cabaret and comedy into their acts - such as François Testory singing Edith Piaf in 'Empire' (The Place, May 15) and Company Chameleon's comedic 'Gameshow' (The Place, May 25).
See 'Conway Confidential': a multitude of performers take over Conway Hall, Fri Apr 13 & Sat Apr 14; 'Family Cabaret', Greenwich Dance, Sat Apr 14.

Multi-generational dance
Dancers are no longer all skinny 20-somethings in layered Lycra, oh no. The idea that your performing career ends at 35 is old hat and there is an increasing number of older dancers (40-plus) popping up on stage these days, proving that experience, presence and personality can matter more than how bendy you are. Anyone who saw DV8's 'Can We Talk About This?' recently will know the incredibly elegant Joy Constantinides (62). And members of Sadler's Wells' Company of Elders (60-87) have appeared in a number of works, including Darren Ellis's 'Long Walk Home', which illustrates the lives of a quartet of women of different ages, including the brilliant Lauren Potter (53), a founder member of Siobhan Davies Dance Company in the '80s.
See Darren Ellis's 'Long Walk Home', Tue Apr 17, and Smith Dancetheatre's 'Agnes and Walter', Apr 26, both at The Place.

Words, words, words
It seems that dancers these days just can't shut up. The spoken word has wheedled its way into the dance world and it's not going anywhere soon. Sometimes that has dire consequences - there's as much art to delivering a line as there is to executing a perfect pirouette, and not all dancers can do it - but where it works it's opening up all sorts of new territory. You'll find it on major stages with the likes of Akram Khan and Fabulous Beast, but also in a wealth of smaller works.
See Giuliana Majo's 'Red', Apr 28, and Gecko's 'Missing', May 2-4, both at The Place.

Dance/art crossover
The woolly territory between dance and visual art is being continually, fruitfully mined at the moment. It might be dancers in gallery spaces, dodging sculptures between steps, or artists making work that is 'choreographic'. Question: how can a work that isn't dance be choreographic? Answer: when it revolves around composition, pattern, flow and rhythm, 'particularly rhythm', says Becky Edmunds, co-curator of this weekend's 'What Matters' festival, which examines just this field. 'It provokes a response in the body of the viewer,' she adds. In other words, it choreographs you. So now you know.
See 'What Matters' at Siobhan Davies Studios, Fri Apr 13-Sun Apr 15.

Actual dancing!
Despite what some of the above might suggest, people really are still interested in movement, actual dancing, as well as all this artistic boundary-hopping. There's a strong strand of work based around investigating the body and developing new movement languages. Dancers coming out of established companies are hot on this. Take Jonathan Goddard and Gemma Nixon for example, two excellent Rambert dancers who are developing a nice little sideline as a choreographic duo. London-based Spaniard Jose Agudo -who has danced with Ballet de Marseille and Shobana Jeyasingh - is another to watch.
See Goddard Nixon's 'Fitcher's Bird' and Jose Agudo's 'Time/Dropper' in a double bill at The Place, Apr 24.