To say Collabo 2011 was Avant Garde Dance‘s weekend would be nothing short of an understatement. To mark its fifth anniversary Tony Adigun‘s two day event has become a three day weekend spectacular showcasing some of London’s most creative dance groups.
Collabo follows the format of collaborations and interpretations: the collaboration of two dancers or companies, or the interpretation of a specially commissioned track produced by Mikey J Asante.
Outstanding performances from Saturday night’s show include Ajani Jhonson and Robia Milliner’s technically strong interpretation, Tempted to Touch, equalled by Kofi Mingo and Ivan Blackstock‘s collaboration to the same music, showing that they share immense creativity since appearing as part of the same cast in Over the Edge and battling as a team at Juste Debout UK 2011.
Boadicea‘s interpretation, too, was a strong piece where musicality ruled and power and grace overruled notions of female dancers needing to be sexy when doing hip hop.
Every single Avant Garde routine was on point, be it in concept, costume or choreography, with both The Firm and Avant Garde Youth showing them how it’s done – the latter performing the strong A Beatific Mind, a piece that will be at Breakin’ Convention 2011. Even the Avant Garde Elves who know how to listen to the music even without an adult dancer to guide them, proving the company as a force to reckon with in the direction of developing and fusing hip hop with contemporary dance.
Mixing up the format, a new interpretative practice was introduced with composer Kweku Aacht sampling music on a soundboard for Wet Wipez and Birdgang to improvise to.
Arguably it wasn’t mind blowing, but when going against the grain it doesn’t matter: it was an interesting concept that would have gotten different results on different nights.
It’s been no more than three weeks since the Birmingham performance of their last major production, Illegal Dance, leaving you wondering how they found the time to fit it in.
Host Ricky Norwood, who most will recognise as Fatboy from EastEnders tied the evening together perfectly, putting a slant on things that only someone of his character could. A former Avant Garde Dancer himself, his insight was laugh out loud funny but also true, and made the transitions between the dancing very entertaining.