CHRONOS: A Pre-Opening Review
Words by Nicole Baxter
“Time is intimate but fleeting, constant but unpredictable; it is irretrievable but must be captured.”
This is the concept behind the Movement and Dance Society’s (MADSOC) major production for 2018, entitled CHRONOS. It was created by Artistic Director, Sumire Antonioli and Producer, Tina Wu, and is showing in the Seymour Centre, August 10th and 11th. I was privileged enough to be able to see the show’s dress run ahead of its release and had mixed reactions to the show.
CHRONOS has some impressive choreography, in places. The opening number ‘Clockwork’, ‘Senescence’ and ‘The Future Is Now’ in the first act and ‘Tempo & Rhythm’, ‘Intemporal’ and ‘The Oddball Effect’ in the second were choreographically outstanding works, but sadly they were rarities in a rather repetitive show. It was moreso obvious in the contemporary/lyrical style numbers – they were almost indistinguishable from one another, especially as the level of difficulty wasn’t especially high.
It was a hop, skip and a jump away from becoming truly timeless, and the show doesn’t quite hold your attention to the point of forgetting that time is passing. This was ironic, considering the theme of the show. Quite often, the choreographers used staggered movements to integrate the time focus successfully, but this made it more evident when the dancers were out of time – which was more often than you’d hope from a show with a paying audience. It seemed to pick up and drop down with each number – the inconsistencies were a bit disconcerting.
There’s no question that CHRONOS is one of the more diverse dance productions open to public viewing. Quite often, professional dance showcases are full of the same type of body – the stock standard ‘perfect dancer’ physique. As a student production, there are a wide variety of body types, compositions and heights, which works to the benefit of the show, and reminds the audience that this is an all-amateur ensemble. As such, a lot of the small mistakes only visible to a dancer’s eye can be forgiven and this leaves more space for a simple celebration of the talent within the show, as most of the audience will experience. Standout dancers included Daniela Rodrigues, Emily Mee, Joshua Riley, Tamsin Delaney and Artistic Producer, Sumire Antonioli, who was entirely in her element in this show.
The moments of joy far outweighed the moments of indifference in CHRONOS. I smiled more than I frowned watching the show, and smiled even more at moments such as the Rick and Morty trap mix hip-hop number (Fortnite dancing included), the beautiful costumes in Bollywood number ‘She’, and the quirky on-stage chemistry of Joshua Riley and Emily Zhong in musical theatre number ‘Nostalgia’, which elicited a universal ‘awwww’.
If you have a dance background, you’ll notice a lot of small things that could be improved. But regardless, it is an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable show that put a smile on my face and I can convincingly say that I can’t think of a better use of the two hours that the show runs for. There is clearly a passion for dance, both from the cast members and the production team, which translates into the performance. As the programme says, each second promises to captivate and inspire.