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Review: Nuclear dance show at Contact Theatre

  • Black Gold Arts Festival perfrormance of Nuclear at Contact Theatre
  • Dance production showcases black artistic work in the north

Nuclear, presented by Black Gold Arts Festival at the Contact Theatre on Saturday, attracted a diverse and young audience. The performance conjured up liberating howls and claps in its aim to celebrate black performance to change the face of theatre.

The performance was a mix of the fiercest black dancers, choreographers and writers featuring the world premiere of Chad Taylor’s powerful new dance piece, Persistence. Extracts from House Of Ghetto’s Black Girl Cabaret, as wel as work from hot new writers.

Matt Finton, artistic director of Contact,said “We’ve been working with Darren Pritchard and Cheryl Martin, the two directors of the BGAF for many years, as individual artists, producers and facilitators with young people. About four years ago they started to talk about the development of the new festival for black work in the north called Black Gold. Contact is a very diverse programme and today was a perfect example of that with young and old, black and asian, of all different backgrounds. It was a very exciting piece of work.”

Drama, exuberance and perfection was completely contrasted to its literal construction. Minimalism as a contemporary form of theatre worked well with the in-sync, slick performances.

The first act was Persistence, a choreographed drama by Chad Taylor which was a story narrated by a voiceover about depression, achieving dreams and obstructions and put into vision through abstract movement.

The fluidity between these performers was reflected in the amazed audience which was silenced by the deep message, connoted through coloured gel lighting and performers’ gaits. The following dances and monologues were just as striking.

Empowering dances entertained the audience with cultural references and had a clear impact on the youthful, multicultural community. The main reason for Nuclear was to get black performance to the point where it would be the norm in everyday theatre.

Black culture was also questioned too, regarding black privilege and history of the term ‘culture’.

Nuclear was being performed for the first time so the name chosen for it was significant. Darren said he chose the striking name as he “wanted artists to go national and  international”. A need and desire for this type of work was reflected in the audience as the hundreds of young people who attended and felt this was a piece for them.

Darren reflected on the performance saying: “If you put young black people on stage their audience is going to reflect themselves. You put the people, (and Chad is from Manchester), from the community on stage, give them the opportunities and the platform to do it and you will get the rewards back. We’ve got a full house full of different colours and ages and youth because Chad is a young performer.”

Anyone wanting to get involved as a performer or artist or wanting to donate, should visit the BA site.

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