Dance 3, Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London

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The Independent Culture

Dance 3 promotes new choreographers. The aim is to get the next generation of dancemakers seen around the country, while developing the small-scale touring circuit for dance. For this tour, programmers and promoters of the National Dance Network have picked their rising talent, presenting nine works across three triple bills. The programme I saw had varied approaches and strong dancing.

The most distinctive work was Passing Strange and Wonderful, by Ben Wright/B Group. It's a relationship drama, played out almost in silence, under Guy Hoare's wavering lighting design. Lise Manavit stands in a square of light, while Keir Patrick waits in the shadow. She shifts, falling backwards, staggering to catch herself. It's not until she retreats to the shadows that he crosses the light to kiss her.

Manavit and Patrick move gently from dance steps to naturalistic body language, responding to each other or becoming absorbed in their own solos. There are no big confrontations. This is an ongoing relationship, two people adjusting to match each other. The performances are relaxed and engaging: it's an everyday story told with confidence and pace.

She perches on his back, as he shuffles sideways on hands and knees. With each shuffle, the box of light gets broader. "Sorry!" she gasps, when one of her moves seems to hold him to the floor. He moves away, leaving her with her hand still outstretched, then comes back to pick her up. As the light box narrows, the two dancers are comfortably snuggled together.

Tom Dale's Cabin Fever is a solo of twitches and slouches, danced by Stephen Moynihan. The sound design, chosen by Dale, hums and crackles. Moynihan, in dappled grey, stands in a diagonal shaft of light, working his way across the stage. He arches backwards as he swaggers forwards, hands twisted into the small of his back.

There's a loping, simian quality to some of the moves – recalling the choreography of Hofesh Shechter, this time with extra wriggles. Moynihan curls up in a series of isolated slumps – dropping a shoulder, letting his torso slouch further and further. In a change of pace, he folds himself into calm yoga poses, then starts to fidget again.

Touring to 29 May ( )