I’ve never seen 2Faced Dance Company before but will make every effort to see them again after last night’s performance. Their latest show Still Breathing is described as ‘a stark examination of a postmodern landscape’ that ‘explores how our senses are constantly bombarded so we are left with little room to breathe.’ Set to a varied, specially-commissioned soundtrack by Anthony Murphy that successfully blended elements of trance, techno, hip hop and break beat, Still Breathing was an unmistakably urban exploration of the relationships between young men – violence, aggression, athleticism, competitiveness, status and yes, friendship, support and tenderness too. The choreography was distinctive, complex, challenging, highly physical and successfully blended very expressive contemporary dance with street dance and elements of hip hop – thrilling, impressive, sexy and great to watch.
In 2004, a troupe of teenage boys thrilled the Fringe with an explosive hour of contemporary breakdance. Albeit carefully choreographed, the show was an obvious and deliberate crowd pleaser. Five years on and 2Faced Dance Company have matured both physically and artistically. This year’s show, Still Breathing, is a stark examination of the postmodern urban landscape, a space where our senses are constantly bombarded and there is little room to breathe. Set to a dark, industrial soundtrack, eight dancers cut through the shadowy space, effortlessly attacking the complex lifts, jumps and intricate floor routines. Fusing together backgrounds in contemporary, ballet, street and breakdance, each cast member adds their individual talent to the performance, moving together powerfully and at a relentless pace. Moveable lighting rigs are skilfully negotiated across the floor space, illuminating sections of the stage and providing climbing frames for the dancers to manipulate and manoever, adding an almost sinister edge to the piece. Although this disquieting change in tone may be appreciated by more traditional dance critics, it may come as something of a shock to the company’s army of young fans eagerly anticipating the upbeat b-boy battling of previous years. However, as an artistic narrative Still Breathing is an undoubtedly powerful, masculine and thought-provoking piece of dance. Another showcase of the group’s ever-growing talents, it only further establishes 2Faced Dance as one of the UK’s most pioneering men’s dance companies.