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Published on Saturday, 22 August 2009

The girls sitting next to me are excited. I can tell they are excited because they ask their friends “are you excited? Then they exclaim “I’m excited” [about this show].” By the end of the first segment I’m on the edge of my seat, partly because of bad sightlines (it’s best to sit in the front row as quite a bit of Spectrum is ground based) but mostly because, yes, I’m excited too. This London-based company combining contemporary dance with hip hop are thrilling to watch.

We enter the world of white noise and of late night TV that casts its hazy glow in a dark room. A young girl clutching a stuffed toy escapes her TV timeslot to find herself wandering through a forest of upright legs. And then that forest of dancers stand up and start moving - what follows is a throb of pure energy as they undulate, pulse and dart, so lightning-fast they arrive at the destination before they left their starting point.

The next section celebrates the full spectrum of colour, as the dancers bound with brooding attitude while performing in windows of light. Later, a change of lighting acts as camouflage to the sole performer dancing against the white backdrop; when joined by two others their sharp movement cleverly defines them from their background.

At times the experience is akin to staring at the screen for too long; sensory overload kicks in and combined with the level of sound, it’s too much. The short film also slackens the pace and some of the dances stop before they really get going, which, while disappointing, also leaves me wanting more.

However, the last segment, with its white hooded figures, erupts into thrilling dance again. One of the final images of the girl and company dancing against projected old TV logos is enduring; it’s electrifying when the stage is filled by the ten-strong group of skilled and expressive dancers. The Avant Garde Dance Company already has quite a following, as evidenced by the nearly full house – now they need a bigger space.

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