Dance Reviews

5 Dances - Spiltmilk Dance

Spiltmilk Dance, 5 Dances. Photography by James Dodd.

Spiltmilk was formed by Sarah Devlin and Adele Wragg in 2006. They have performed in many different venues up and down the country and have been highly acclaimed by their audiences. This is the first year that the company has been apart of the Buxton Festival Fringe and they have produced a compilation of dances that have been revised especially for their fringe debut. Before the performance I had an open mind and did not know what to expect. I was not disappointed.

The five dances which they performed tonight have all been inspired by the life and works of Andy Warhol. For those people who know very little about Andy Warhol here is a quick note on what he did. Andy Warhol was a central figure in the pop art movement during the 1960s. Many of his works encapsulated images from American popular culture, for example Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, a theme of his work was to show their faces repeated at ridiculous proportions. This theme of repetition is evident in the dances performed by Spiltmilk.

The company performed a prelude dance followed by four other dances. Each and of the dances has been intricately and beautifully choreographed to create a stunning performance. Although the use of repetition was apparent the dances sustained interest throughout by slowly changing the movements from one fluid image to another. Before the performance started each person was given a programme; which included a short introduction to each dance, with an explanation on how they have been created and what has inspired them. This added a nice touch to the performance making the contemporary dances accessible to all people.

One dance that I especially enjoyed is Dance 2: Snake. I enjoyed this performance as it started off with very simple movements that developed into much more intricate routines. The small changes to the repeated movement are what made this piece interesting to watch as each of the dancers personality shone through when a change was made. However, my personal favourite of the whole performance is Dance 5: People. This dance was performed without music and relied on the dancers to create the beat to which the performance ran with. I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the Buxton Community School dancers performing alongside the members of Splitmilk in Dance 5: People. They gave the piece a new energy and provided a larger number of dances which was needed for this last dance.

After the performance I asked the Buxton Community School dancers what they felt about working with the Splitmilk dance company, overall it was a major success with replies such as "Fantastic!" and "Awesome!" On the other hand the company themselves said that it was " a good experience working with the young people."

This production is for anyone who would like to watch something original and fun, I believe that it is a Fringe must-see for 2008!

Toni Saxton

Salsa Dance Evening - sensational salsa

Sensational Salsa's Justine and Linval

The weather may be dismal but some heat was certainly generated at Sensational Salsa's steamy salsa evening at the Railway Hotel on Friday night.

The salsa craze has really taken off in Buxton and Sensational Salsa's now regular parties have evolved into the ideal environment for beginners to learn the basic steps and the more experienced to strut their stuff on the dance floor.

A well-structured evening featured beginners' merengue (much simpler than salsa as it involves only marching steps) and beginners' salsa lessons with Linval directing the proceedings from the middle of an increasingly large circle of dancers - around 40 people showed up.

There was also plenty of opportunity for free dancing to Linval's as-ever excellent choice of Latin American and soul music. Highlight of the evening though (apart from my own special dance with Linval of course) was Linval's and Justine's electrifying dance display. Justine had disappeared shortly before and emerged in a black halter-neck cocktail dress and the requisite black high heels. Their sinuous dance was full of sexy new moves with Justine sliding her foot along the floor between Linval's legs at one point and Linval turning her manically and flinging her back into positions that had the audience gasping - at one point Justine seemed to be upside down with her head just inches from the floor!

The display was greeted with whoops of excitement but then the crowd fell curiously silent becoming suddenly shy and immobile as the music came on again. 'The floor is now yours - come on, it's time to party!' shouted Linval breaking the spell and signalling another few hours of enjoyable dancing from us all.

There were many newcomers at the event and happily they will not have to wait till next Fringe to dance again. Sensational Salsa runs classes every Tuesday night at Buxton's Railway Hotel, 7.30pm for beginners and 8.30pm for improvers. Call 0796 6004810 for further information.

Stephanie Billen