Henri Oguike Company, Swan, High Wycombe

4.00

The great moment in Henri Oguike's
Front Line is a stampede along the front of the stage.

The great moment in Henri Oguike's Front Line is a stampede along the front of the stage. Guy Hoare's lighting fixes the dancers in a stripe of light, with deep shadow behind them. They look like figures in a frieze, stamping and shimmying from side to side.

Oguike is one of the new hopes of British modern dance. A celebrated dancer for Richard Alston, he is in great demand as a freelance choreographer. With his own company, he focuses on dance with live music.

Front Line has become the company's signature piece. Set to Shostakovich's Ninth Quartet, played by the Pavao Quartet, it is both angular and flowing, full of bold shapes and brilliant phrasing. In one gorgeous sideways shuffle, each dancer steps out lightly with a lifted knee, then brings the other foot in with a crashing stomp. Their hips swing, their bodies lurch. They stamp more as they move back to use the whole stage. Feet are slapped down in wide-legged marches or on-the-spot shuffles. It still reflects Shostakovich's spikiness, but the musicality is less acute than in the explosive first movement. Oguike is most powerful in his tight structures.

The new White Space combines dance and film. It opens with flashes of light, white lines projected on to a dark screen. We glimpse a dancer silhouetted against them. As the lights come up and the music begins, the film becomes a backdrop. The camera moves over a Mondrian-like grid, or cuts to film of the dance we're watching: agitated in close-up, assured on stage. The recorded music is Scarlatti harpsichord sonatas.

Oguike's dance is half-courtly, half-affected. It is highly organised, with grid floor patterns to match the film behind it. Little turns suggest country dances, and the dancing has a confident ease.

Elsewhere, the dancers bob their heads like pigeons, or crook their wrists on the beat. Oguike keeps returning to those mocking twitches, and they break up the elegance of the dance. The repetition is tied to the insistent harpsichord rhythms, and it starts to look dogged. But there's still some beautiful detail here. FPS (Frames Per Second) opens with an Oguike solo. The music is a Kronos Quartet arrangement of Bill Evans, again played live. Hoare's lighting is a diagonal patch of light, like sun shining through a window. Oguike moves from pane to pane. He's a superb dancer, with an astonishing dynamic range. Much of this solo happens at flickering speed, but it's sensuously phrased. The steps themselves are less memorable than how he dances them. It's the same with a second section, smoothly danced by Nuno Campos and Nuno Silva.

Finale is a bright closing number, the dancers bounding buoyantly through René Aubry's Latin hip-swaying rhythms.

Touring to 22 April. Details on www.henrioguikedance.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen