At times unsettling, but always spellbinding, the Chantry Dance Company takes us on a spectacular journey into the world of dreams with their new piece, The Sandman.
We follow the adventures of a young woman desperate to bring good dreams to her dying husband as she pursues the Sandman in order to steal his magical umbrellas. Encountering both friends and foes, her experiences are portrayed in enchanting dance sequences and accompanied by a striking musical score, which effectively convey the charming disjointedness which we unquestioningly accept in dreams.
The Sandman is both moving and emotionally intelligent.
One memorable highlight is the sympathetic treatment of the monster-under-the-bed, who turns out to be perhaps more scared of us than we are of him, giving the piece a sensitivity which subverts our expectations and invites us to think less in terms of a binary of good and evil.
At once whimsical and profound, the piece is reminiscent of the nonsense world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland in its portrayal of the various characters we meet along the way – some delightfully bizarre and others somewhat sinister.
Art like this has a lingering impact, and the dancers ensure that reflection on the message they have conveyed lasts beyond the final bows. Indeed, the audience are actively invited to engage with the work in a Q and A session after the performance, in a simple yet clever move to promote the accessibility of contemporary dance.
Finally, a special mention must go to the impressive performance put on by a talented group of students from the company’s dance school, who merged seamlessly with the professionals in executing the imaginative and intricate choreography effortlessly.
Clearly there is no shortage of talent here – an exciting prospect for the future of the company.
Following the premiere in Grantham, Chantry Dance Company will be touring The Sandman with performances across the UK, including at the Greenwich Theatre, London, on October 1 and Stamford Arts Centre on October 5.
Further information can be found at www.chantrydancecompany.org