Scottish Dance Theatre



LIV Lorent was born to choreograph. Every move she creates, every piece of music she selects, is handed to the audience like a precious gift. Her 2004 piece Luxuria, for Scottish Dance Theatre, had everyone in raptures. So it's no great surprise that Lorent's latest creation, tenderhook, has produced similar results.

Of all the choreographers who have visited the Dundee company in recent years, Lorent pushes the hardest. Not just with her steps, which are intricate, complex and at times totally unexpected, but with her emotional demands. Although abstract in form, tenderhook takes us into the heart of a loving relationship: the highs and lows, the moments of support juxtaposed with feelings of stifled constraint. So much is conveyed without words that by the end, the dancers look happy but emotionally drained.

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What really sets Lorent apart, however, is her theatricality. Taking the unusual step of putting contemporary dancers into pointe shoes (both male and female), she then hands them Chinese circus-style ribbons to twirl. Add to that some beautiful lighting design and evocative music by Italian film composer Ezio Bosso, and Lorent had us in the palm of her hand. Brevity can sometimes be a blessing in dance, but this was one piece I never wanted to end.

Vanessa Haska could learn a thing or two about subtlety from Lorent.

Her work, Sorry for the Missiles! came at you like a ton of bricks, leaving little room for interpretation. And surprisingly, given the theme of wartime devastation, it had virtually no emotional impact. The use of Eastern European folk music built a sense of atmosphere, as did the pre-war merrymaking. Once the bombs started dropping, however, the work was reduced to loud screams and limp bodies, but without character definition it was hard to care.

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