Review: The End of Dance

The Place (London)

Jan 13th

Choreographed by Yann Allsopp

Yann Allsopp and Company returned to Resolution Festival, at The Place (London) this year with their piece ‘The End of Dance.’ Imagine a world where dance is banned, the House of Commons have passed a ruling stating no dance shall happen in Great Britain anymore.  Some MPs are up in arms, some think it’s fairly reasonable.  But all believe it will be near impossible to enforce.  And that’s the premise for this piece.

Allsopp, Rebecca Kenny and Jess Williams merge theatre, dance and movement to create this topical performance. The piece remains anchored to the political plot, whilst simultaneously parodying modern day dance culture. The cast are from varying disciplines – Williams from dance, Kenny from theatre, burlesque and cabaret and Allsopp an alumni from LeCoq.  Their different skills bring a richness to the work and place the piece somewhere on the boundary of theatre and dance (if we want to start pigeonholing).

They have taken verbatim speeches, spoken recently by MPs and in replacing the odd word, have transformed them to relate to the new ban on dance.  It offers a shifted and comical lens through which we can view current parliamentary policies, and in some cases the seeming ludicrousness of them.  A scene with poppies acknowledges some of the more ridiculous headlines spawned from Westminster this year, and certainly won the audiences’ approval.

Also worth a mention is the refreshing 1:2 male to female onstage ratio, which is great for theatre, but also as a current hot topic is the ratio of males to females in Parliament, currently pushed to the forefront by groups such as The Women’s Equality Party and Frances Scott’s 50:50 campaign.

It’s an amusing take on current affairs through the medium of dance.  There’s more speech than you may expect in a dance piece, but throughout the spoken moments you’ll catch two or all of them make the same gesture at the same time, and find yourself questioning if it was orchestrated, or purely by chance.  It’s this subtly, contrasted by a grand finale featuring a hefty nod to Pina Bausch, that got me onside.  I look forward to seeing more work by this company.

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