Greeted with a champagne reception and nibbles, Betsy Gregory, Paul Russ and Matthias Sperling said a few words about their excitement for the coming festival and admiration for the artists involved. Nottdance festival 2017 is the twenty fourth of its kind, and encompasses the finest of Nottingham’s artistic talent in five days of exhibitions, classes and performances run by some of the best in the business.
Once the speeches were rounded with applause, we were invited through a pristine white office to the contrastingly rustic lair in which we were to experience the work of Roberta Jean as she presented Brocade. An energetic presentation of dance as one of most basic elements, movement. Seated either side of a catwalk-like stage, you could feel the movement of the four female dancers in front of you.
A deep admiration is required for the level of fitness these dancers have, as they were moving pretty enthusiastically throughout the hour long performance. One of the most unusual aspects of Brocade was that there was very little in the shape of music. Most of the rhythms were created by the dancer’s feet, springing from side to side, varying in volume and speed throughout. You could see the sweat on their faces, but still they remained in character and professional.
Alongside a mystery violinist, some of the sounds used in the performance were created by the dancers using a loop pedal. This magical device records sections of sound and plays them quite literally in a loop. The most impressive use of this was towards the end of the performance when the microphone was held to one of the dancer’s chests and her heartbeat was used to create the sound for the finale. The atmosphere created by these interesting uses of noise in performance was consuming and almost eerie, setting the tone for the rest of the festival.
Nottdance Festival 2017 runs from 8 - 12 March and event details are available on their website.