We really shouldn’t take for granted the commitment to dance it has taken by the management of Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre that has led to being able to enjoy this type of world class dance in the city.
To see the auditorium packed for Ballet British Columbia (BC), Canada’s leading contemporary dance company, was a joy. That the audience enjoyed such extraordinary dance was the icing on the cake.
Artistic director Emily Molnar travelled with the company to Bradford and it was her piece, 16 + a room, which opened the evening. A witty piece involving dancers moving as though on a stage that was tipping and lurching, Molnar makes the most of the strength of her dancers in an energetic piece that moves on the vertical and horizontal axes with the performers demonstrating floor work in one moment and dancing en pointe the next. In contemporary the pointe work can sometimes be an afterthought, but here Molnar integrates it into the whole piece.
The second of the three dances, Solo Echo, is choreographed by Crystal Pite. That Pite is a graduate of BC is apparent as her piece sits almost as a companion piece to Molnar’s 16 + a room, with style and form that is pertinently familiar.
The final dance of the evening is the one that really earns every single of this review’s five stars. Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar choreographed Bill originally for Batsheva Dance Company. It is one of the most astonishing pieces of art I have ever witnessed. Dancing in bodystockings, allowing the audience to examine every movement, the dancers create pure magic. Fusing contemporary with hip hop and breaking, to call Bill mesmerising is to call the Sistine Chapel ceiling a paint job. As with many of the dance work brought to the Bradford stage in recent years, my only regret is that I can’t watch it again right now.