Brighton Fringe 2017
The company produce cutting-edge, dynamic contemporary dance works with influence of traditional Turkish folk dance, the dance style of Tanc’s heritage. Utilising virtuoso movements of the male Turkish dancers on female bodies, a unique movement vocabulary is created, which conveys striking shapes and an emotive and sensual energy.
This world class contemporary dance is filled with both quick and unhurried graceful movement requiring real control, which is displayed in genuine abundance. Yet the themes are so highly contemporary and their skill-set so excellent that they surpass any contemporary dance performance I have seen, whilst holding to their very own distinctive form and style.
What do you do when you’re born and bred in the UK, go to University to study Dance, yet all the time have a family whose roots are most definitely Turkish? This was the apparent dilemma facing Ceyda Tanc in 2011. In her case, her family’s heritage fascinated her so much that she took the unusual step to spend four months at The State Turkish Conservatoire for Music and Traditional Folk Dance. Upon returning to the UK, and a year later, she would found her very own dance company. From small seeds great things can grow and she now runs a highly successful, Brighton based contemporary dance company along with an Educational Youth Section, who are also performing in the Fringe, and a multi-age performance as a late addition to the main Festival.
So much for some background; now to the performance which was sold out, such is the enthusiastic following of this dance company. They perform two individual and distinctive pieces:
The first is ‘Kina,’ a piece totally focused on the traditions and rituals of a Turkish wedding where it is said that folk dance evolved. We are taken through the traditions of engagement, the henna night and actual ceremony and then a look at many aspects of the marital relationship. Some movement is brash and bold whilst others are far more sensual and intimate. What is abundantly clear from this piece is that old traditional views on gender stereotypes are thrown to the wind as these women occasionally spin, leap and shout! There are no ‘girl or boy jobs here!’ Arguably, this flies somewhat in the face of certain political and religious trends now taking place in Turkey, but let’s not get into that discussion here. This is an alluring piece that held its audience spellbound.
The second piece is entitled ‘Ayin’ in which is explored the concept of rituals, which recognises that it is part of the human condition that we all search for love and acceptance whether it be human, physical or spiritual. Arguably, and on the face of it, you may think that very few of us are tied to rituals in this day and age of technological advancement. However, this piece seems to suggest that most of us like a certain order in our lives, with a frequent desire to do certain things in particular way and at a certain time. The dance explores what lies at the very heart of this human instinct, and would seem to suggest that we all abide by rituals, whether or not we use that terminology. We are after all, creatures of habit. The piece has intense aesthetic and symbolic value which is spellbinding in its execution, relying heavily on synchronised movement. As with the first piece, precision and co-ordination is everything, set against a hauntingly beautiful traditional Turkish Soundtrack which seems bordering on the spiritual in its content. For both pieces, this soundtrack is wonderfully composed by Alex McCall and the dancers are lit with real creative flair by Natalie Rowland with lovely costumes by Holly Murray and Amber Tanc.
This contemporary dance is filled with both quick and unhurried graceful movement requiring real control, which is displayed in genuine abundance. Yet the themes are so highly contemporary and their skill-set so excellent that they surpass any contemporary dance performance I have seen, whilst holding to their very own distinctive form and style.
Based in Brighton, and now having their own studio here, the company have toured the UK extensively having performed in Brighton on six previous occasions and have developed a strong following, which meant that this show was a sell-out with many wanting seats that just weren’t available. In 2014 they did a National Tour of Turkey and were incredibly well received by packed audiences. This is a company to look out for, even if like me, you come a little late to the party!
I have often sat through pieces of Contemporary Dance in the past and on occasions found my mind wandering to other things. No danger of this here. The company kept the audience transfixed from the opening to the end and time seemed to stand still. This is, in my view, the mark of a great performance with every phase of dance having its own theme and telling its own part of the story.
If you appreciate contemporary dance, or even if you think don’t, be prepared for something captivating and unusually refreshing. To say that this dance company are good would be a gross understatement. This troupe have skills finely honed through professional training and the highly creative choreography by Ceyda Danc. Look out for them in the future as I very much doubt you will be disappointed.