Review / Young dancers all hot to trot

AN annual event that is always worth looking forward to, QL2’s “Hot To Trot” was a pleasure to attend again this year.

Ten young dancers, aged between 15 and 20, stepped out of their comfort zone as company dancers and took on the huge responsibility of choreographing works of their own choice limited only by their imaginations. This is an important starting point in the development of their choreographic practice and their leadership potential.

This year was notable for some truly magical works. The following items were the standouts for me, but every member of the audience would have their own favourites amongst the consistently high standard of dances presented.

The opening item, “Abysall Plains”, which was choreographed by Patricia Hayes Cavanagh, explored the possibility of life in the deep ocean. The elegant ebb and flow of plant and animal life in the underwater currents was almost dream-like and very effective.

The four dancers gave a beautiful performance of this work and the electrical costumes were cleverly designed and used to good effect.

“Avatar”, choreographed by Courtney Tha, was a clever, sharply defined work about alter egos that required great precision by her two dancers who performed it extremely well.

Ruby Ballantyne choreographed and danced “The Idea of You”, a love story built on impossible expectation. It was a strong concept that required not only fine dancing but good vocal delivery and acting. That it was so successful is a credit to the young choreographer.

“Defacing Circles”, choreographed by Lillian Cook, was a delicate, almost ritualistic depiction of the perception of women and how it has changed over the years. Finely danced and costumed, this was a fully realised work of great feeling.

The lone male choreographer, Silas Manapsal, produced a work called “A Caged Mind” that explored how we, as individuals, can often feel trapped mentally or physically.  

It was a well-danced work with real tensions and a mature understanding of the issues involved.

All the items made use of music that thoughtfully underscored the intention of the works and Guy Harding gave every dance an atmospheric lighting design. All of the dancers performed with confidence and skill.

Over the years, many young “first-time” choreographers have gone on to train at tertiary level and continue into a dance career. This year, five of the choreographers will go on to tertiary study. Their work here showed they are ready for that challenge.

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