Avant Garde Dance are a dance company based in London created and led by Tony Adigun. The company look at dance and music at its core, trying to find new and different ways of exploring these mediums. On their website it says: ‘We are intrigued by a sense of difference and rebellion against what other people are doing and we celebrate individuality and uniqueness.’ Their choreography is a very unique mixture of contemporary and street dance, and they are well known and respected among the dance community performing in places nationally and internationally such as Latitude Festival, British Dance Edition 2012, Brighton Dome, Barcelona Festival and Madison Square Gardens, New York.
I went to watch their performance of their latest tour ‘The Black Album’ at Dance East, Ipswich on the 4th of April. The Black Album is influenced by a concept album where three different sections all merge into one. Avant Garde means ‘new and experimental ideas and methods in art, music or literature’ and I think this is a perfect summary of the performance.
In ‘Omega’, the first section, the style was very contemporary and expressive. I feel there was more of a story and characters in this section. The dance was very raw and not coordinated which helped express the music in its simplest form. There was also a range of genre from dark to electronic to chill out and then rock, but the transition was so smooth you hardly notice. Lighting was also simplistic but well thought out, there were five dancers and there were five spotlights made to look like light shining through a window so you felt the characters were completely isolated from each other and they could tell you the story of their personal struggle.
Then came ‘Classic Break’ which was my favourite part. This was break dance choreography to classical music of composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. When you first hear it you might think it wouldn’t work but it merged together so well. It was surprising how easily the dancers could switch from technical ballet to street dance. There was also a humour element adding even more to this unlikely combination. It was incredible to watch and I only wish they had attempted to twist it the other way round, with ballet to street music, which I’m sure they could achieve having pulled this off!
Dark Matter was the final section where the dancers from the past two sections came together for a contemporary style similar to the first section. This part used more props than the first such as masks. It was again so surprising to see the extended talent of these dancers and the very different styles of dance they could seamlessly switch between.
Overall, I really enjoyed the performance. It was so different from anything I’ve ever seen and it so interesting to watch an album rather than just listen to it. This was a completely unique concept, which was so engrossing that you don’t even notice the time going by.