STAR RATING: 5/5
Bromley-based Magpie Dance Company performed their latest show to a packed audience in their home town, writes Mark Drinkwater.
Magpie consists of people with learning difficulties, as well as non-disabled dancers, and in the past 10 years they have developed a reputation for their moving performances as well as for their high-quality education programme.
True to its name, Magpie often borrows from established dance routines, and the biggest cheer of the evening was for the All That Jazz-inspired ensemble piece, Razzle Dazzle.
Central to Magpie’s recent works is a mentoring scheme that has enabled three dancers with learning difficulties to choreograph dances. This included my favourite work, Peter’s Hands, a graceful duet choreographed and performed by Peter Taylor, along with his dance partner Suzy Mitchell.
Whether it’s interpreting established pieces or choreographing original work, Magpie uses contemporary dance to entertain at the same time as challenging preconceptions about disabilities and about who is capable of being a public performer or a choreographer.
What sets this two-hour show apart from similar companies’ work is the scale of the production. In addition to creative dances, the top class venue, great lighting and specially commissioned live music all ensure a thoroughly professional evening’s entertainment.
Mark Drinkwater is a community worker in Southwark, south London