Since university resumed, I have dozed off in almost every lecture and tutorial, most likely due to self-induced sleep deprivation. Naturally, I was sceptical of MADSOC’s ability to engage me for two hours. How exciting could repetitive blocks of dance after dance be? Surely the evening would fade into humdrum.
I was wrong.
Entering the dance studio, the excitement was palpable. Gangs of laughing, hair-sprayed girls, clad in leotards, were scattered across the congested room. Yet, immediately as the directors called for opening positions, the dancers pulled back to the wings, leaving the middle space bare.
From the onset, I was struck by the industrial style of their first routine (one of their best). Their bodies interlocked in often perfect synchronicity, like cogs. There is such satisfaction in seeing such a large ensemble fit flawlessly into tiny gaps of well-timed chaos. The costuming and choreography resembled clockwork, embodying the mechanical aspect of their ‘Chronos theme.
This was what really shone in the show: its unified theme. Despite the gloriously diverse dances, from Salsa to Bollywood fusion, the discordant styles were bonded through the over-arching premise of ‘time’. This gave purpose to what could have been a mismatched and largely tokenistic pastiche of cultural dances. Instead it presented as considered, respectable and full of integrity.
Centring the theme around ‘time’ was ambitious, given that it would make the audience all the more conscious of timing.
The choreography alone, whilst phenomenal, was occasionally lost in the inability of some weaker dancers who hampered some of the precision. Most routines shone: the hip hop was strong, the first duet was immaculate, but the tap dancing should have possessed a bit more finesse than stamping. This was disheartening because a dance troupe is often only as strong as its weakest member.
But this is a dance society and a spectrum of talent is the nature of the beast.
There were a number of professional dancers who alone made the show worth seeing, while the less-skilled were an infrequent distraction. The choreographers still managed to pull some great performances from the whole cast, which is an impressive feat. It should also be noted that being their dress rehearsal, many of these malfunctions is likely to be rectified before opening night.
It’s uncertain how this show would be judged from the expert opinion of a seasoned dancer, but as an open-minded neophyte looking to be entertained, this show certainly delivered for me. What they lacked in technique, these dancers compensated in execution. They successfully maintained that cool, edgy atmosphere introduced in the opening. This is not a dance show that you to watch in support of your little sister who stands in the back row of one routine. Hard work has clearly been put into ‘Chronos’ to entertain, amaze and amuse all audiences. I recommend you make time to see them.
MADSOC’s major production ‘Chronos’ opens on August 10 at the Seymour Centre.