Dance: A joystick to behold

In the past, computer games have been transformed into movies, comics and toys. But, thanks to the Union Dance Company, the PlayStation game Tekken has now been turned into something altogether more grown up

Dancers have many obsessions: yoghurt, sticking plaster, Marlboro Lights. Union Dance Company's six performers have acquired a new craze: their PlayStations. After a hard day's touring, they crash out with their little joysticks in their hands to watch the blood and guts flood the screen as the multi-galactic Tekken warriors kick their enemies into orbit in pursuit of some elusive grail-like article. Anyone who spends their leisure time running up the electricity bill will tell you that there's more to it than the habitual dismemberment of inferior beings. Not only does it do wonders for your hand-eye coordination, it's also a deeply spiritual experience.

This delightful means of killing time (for those who prefer it dead) has provided the inspiration for Union Dance's most recent show which claims the dubious distinction of being the first dance work based entirely on a computer game. The piece is divided into four parts and embraces everything from conventional contemporary dance vocabulary to the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. Just as no modern menu is complete without a dish that recklessly combines jellied eels with pickled bananas, so the modern choreographer feels the need to sample various cultures in outre combinations.

Each of the four parts of Dance Tek Warriors (right) is composed by a different choregrapher, with sections by New York dance-makers Abdel R Salaam and Doug Elkins, and by company members Charemaine Seet and Michael Joseph. Their chosen music is as eclectic as their cultural influences with everything from specially commissioned Anglo-Nigerian music by Tunde Jegende to a Beethoven string quartet. Each segment has a different mood and the Play-Station links range from Michael Joseph's close association (which actually uses PlayStation graphics as its backdrop) to Charemaine Seet's quieter moments.

In less experienced hands, this magpie eclecticism might tend to result in a fidgety, unfocused performance but Union Dance Company has been going since 1984. From the first, this multi-racial young outfit has happily mixed and matched its influences to create programmes of often vibrant and entertaining work. Dance Tek Warriors may be based on the lame-brain pastime of computer game-playing, but the exaggerated graphics with their gravity-defying movements are a challenge to any choreographer - and to the poor dancers obliged to replicate them.

Union Dance Company, Queen Elizabeth Hall, SE1 (0171-960 4242) 12-13 Feb 7.45pm

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Caretaker / Storeman

    £15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales - SaaS B2B

    £60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

    Day In a Page

    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
    Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

    Secrets of comedy couples

    What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
    Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

    Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

    While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
    The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

    The best swimwear for men

    From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
    Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

    Mark Hix goes summer foraging

     A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
    Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

    With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

    Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
    Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

    Aaron Ramsey interview

    Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
    Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

    Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

    As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
    The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

    Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

    Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms