Review: Ailey 2, Mayflower, Southampton
I’ve seen a fair few dance shows at the Mayflower in the past few months, and all have had lavish sets around which the performers scoot.
Ailey 2 is a different sort of beast. You’re here to watch dance, and there are no distractions. Dancers, a stage, lighting – that’s pretty much it until the last act.
Presented by Dance Consortium, the show comprises four acts – each with a curtain call – split by two intermissions and a smaller break. This presumably is to give the dancers a chance to catch their breath after whipping themselves into a frenzy across each performance.
It kicks off with Enemy in the Figure, with a pulsating Thom Willem beat driving the dancers across both a lit and barely-lit stage.
Freedom Series is a little more eclectic in its choice of accompaniment, but the slower tunes don’t mean a less physical performance from the dancers. It ends with an astounding piece set to Bach’s Double Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, and the first props of the show in hand-held globes
The Hunt is the pick of the evening, with four lads in long Kendo-esque skirts romping across the floor to thumping beat from Les Tambours du Bronx. It’s a powerful piece which fills the ears and eyes, and elicits the strongest cheers of the night.
The evening rounds off with Revelations, a heavy Gospel-driven piece which introduces more props, including an impressively-realised stream from two wafting ribbons. It’s a moving, if not spectacular, end which nearly sees the show’s first spill as one of the dancers wrestles with a stool – thankfully styled out with aplomb.
AIley 2 is an exceptional showcase of dance prowess and unabashedly in-your-face; one sequence twice removes the music entirely so the audience can hear the lung-busting efforts expended.
Those with any kind of interest in contemporary should find their way to Mayflower this evening (Satutday) for the second show.
For tickets, visit https://ticketing.mayflower.org.uk/overview/ailey-2-2023