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Company Chameleon - A Dance Review

Company Chameleon - A Dance Review

After travelling for the past 10 years, Company Chameleon’s dynamic blend of dance has been very well rehearsed. The performance began with a short piece – ‘words unspoken’, which explored the untold secrets of the performers on stage. Five dancers formed synchronised movements which created a hypnotic and captivating style. By looking behind ‘the masks we wear, unveiling the psychological, situational, and emotional states we prefer to hide’ (From the programme), the performance conveyed an intense, intimate atmosphere. I especially enjoyed the clever intertwining movements that built a narrative for the story being told.

Once this piece has finished, the floor was re-laid for the main dance in the double bill – ‘Witness’. As this took place the audience had a short intermission, this is where I had a chance to really appreciate the venue. Dance East is a very quirky, well established venue, which consists of a small café and separate bar. All the staff were very friendly and helpful with any queries that I had.

The main piece of the double bill ‘Witness’ explores the journey of mental health in a portrayal of the choreographer, Kevin Edward Turner’s own experience with being bipolar. This dance conveys how mental health effects not only the individual but the family around them. It features a diverse mix of dance styles, including solos, powerful duets, and ensembles that depict a story through the different stages of suffering with mental health. The dancers’ movements were well executed with compassion, drama, and stamina, along with personalised sound tracks, speech, and vivid changing stage lightening enhance the story telling throughout. This piece especially explores the extremes of being bipolar – exposing the manic highs, which included an almost comic interpretation of the flash dance, and the desperate lows, which included a rather disturbing section in a mental asylum. These extremes were not only portrayed by the main dancer but his two alter-egos, which helped the audience to have a clear insight into this unravelling illness. I found the final section of this intense dance the most powerful as the danced used a variety of techniques to portray the fight and support the family partake in to help the sufferer become themselves again.

I thoroughly enjoyed this venue and performance, and was very pleased to see a presence of a MIND stall and people to take to in the auditorium before and after the performance. There was also a after show talk with the director of Dance East and the choreographer from Company Chameleon. I would highly recommend this performance to anybody who has been affected by mental health, and to anybody who hasn’t. It was very refreshing to see an alternative interpretation of mental health through very skilled, talented dancers. It was also great to see that mental health is becoming a less taboo subject.

Review by Emma King, Undergraduate at University of Suffolk.

Been inspired by this review? check out the Dance East events page for upcoming performances. 

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