Review: Switch

Simon ParkinThe crackle of electricity was in the air as the dancers of ACE Music and Dance put in a supercharged performance on their return to the Playhouse, entracing a young audience.Simon Parkin

Norwich Playhouse

The crackle of electricity was in the air as the dancers of ACE Music and Dance put in a supercharged performance on their return to the Playhouse.

After winning friends with their last production Skin, this latest is a double bill, a collaborative work by ACE directors Gail and Ian Parmel with choreographers Douglas Thorpe and Andile Sotiya, was another exciting blend of technically impressive dance and cutting edge music and visuals.


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Set in a black and white space, the title piece saw it slowly transformed by seven dancers into an twitching, pulsating electrical circuit board. Static, white noise and disembodied voices, accompanied powerful dance that sparked with sheer physicality, without being too literal.

A large part of the work of ACE is educational, and prior to this performance they'd been involved with four Norfolk schools, so it was pleasing to see so many under-16s in the audience.

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The second piece, Listen, choreographed by Douglas Thorpe, was an unsettling portrayal of the effects of modern day war, with impressive fast and precise phrases and movement. Morphing from African rituals and rhythms to the shock and awe post-traumatic stress and flashbacks, it was powerful stuff.

Contemporary dance is sometimes accused of being difficult. Here ACE balanced genuinely cutting edge performance with an open inclusive style. And the fact that dozens of children sat in rapt silence spoke volumes.

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