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Ascendance Rep found its first audience in art galleries, libraries and museums. Theatre dates are now regularly on the schedule and the company’s fan base is growing.
Two pieces seen on limited view last year have been reworked for this season’s Chaps tour. Gary Clarke’s Social Disease is inspired by the art of Andy Warhol and Tom Roden’s The Up and Down People looks with a wry twinkle at people’s highs and lows.
Social Disease has the dancers in Warhol wigs trying to look cool but only succeeding in being very self conscious. They strut and posture superbly. The Up and Down People has dancers entering as if astride recumbent bicycles. They spring up but not all the way up because their mood might be in between. Paradox follows paradox.
Paul Wilkinson, a new recruit to Ascendance Rep, has moments of fun physical humour and he shares funny recollections of being on a railway station platform. Anna Bjerre Larsen stirs this piece.
For Jan De Schynkel’s Habitual Welders the four dancers are joined by Charis Osborne, the company’s education coordinator. Danced to atmospheric medieval music it has much for the audience to respond to. Dressed in workshop blue the dancers have intriguing duets with heartfelt relationships and dramatic encounters.
This programme is ideal for newcomers to contemporary dance but at the same time it has appeal for the experienced eye. It is an achievement that Rachel Wesson, Ascendance Rep’s artistic director, should be delighted with. It is what she has always striven for.
Production information can change over the run of the show.