Spin is an intense, full-on and fast-moving forty minutes. Using only two large triangular wooden shapes, one slightly bigger than the other, the four performers (Daniel Aing, Becci Williams, Alex Rowland and Daniel Ovel) span, jumped, rolled, vaulted and dived around the space as if their lives depended on it.
There was a fusion of the dance styles parkour (the use of bodies and surroundings to move from one place to another in the most efficient way possible) and breakin’ (commonly known as break dancing), and the dances took on a life of their own responding to the various rhythms of music cleverly composed by Luke Harney.
In the main the team worked as one, in perfect synch when the choreography called for it, with both bodies and movement mirroring each other beautifully. Influences of street dance were apparent, with the strongest part of the whole performance being the intermittent breakin’ sequences – these made compelling viewing. The cast also demonstrated the true meaning of the word parkour, making excellent use of the versatile scenery in different positions. The rotating triangles became a crucial part of the dance sequences, moving the stories on between characters.
There were some moments when the performance felt disconnected, as if I was witnessing a class practising contact improvisation. For me, it worked better when the dancers were either physically or emotionally connected with each other, as they were during a serious dance-off between rival factions reminiscent of the Jets and Sharks in West Side Story. I could see the journey that each dancer took, in and out of feeling hopeful and then the utter despair of hopelessness. But I couldn’t help feeling that the choreography played a little safe and that the dancers were capable of taking more risks.
Having said that, for the performance that I saw, one of the dancers was sadly clearly injured. So maybe something was lacking because of this; a man down would presumably make a crucial difference to this piece.
Overall, I was looking for something a little more than I got. But on a technical level, Spin achieved what it set out to do – and there will be many who will appreciate its merits and the skills involved.