Kelly Apter, The Scotsman
Desire, bondage and domination – hardly your average contemporary dance themes. Then again, Deborah Colker is hardly your average choreographer. Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Colker excelled in the fields of piano, philosophy and volley ball before turning her attention to dance.
She’s also a familiar face on the Brazilian pop video scene, choreographing for some of the country’s biggest stars. All of which results in work which is musical, highly physical and not a little deep.
Donald Hutera, The Times
How cruel love can be. That simple idea is a staple of everything from great literature to pop songs. Now comes Deborah Colker with a sleek, dark new piece of dance-theatre to remind us anew of the pleasures and the pain.
Working with the designer Gringo Cardia, this Brazilian choreographer specialises in large-scale, thinking person’s eye-candy. In its many previous UK visits her sexy young company has wowed audiences by cavorting on such spectacular set-pieces as a giant wheel, a climbing wall or a stylised three-storey dwelling. This time she’s after something more dramatic and densely layered.
Presented last week in High Wycombe, Cruel is touring Britain until July 3. The performance is split into three sections. In the first, seven glamorous heterosexual couples — plus one odd woman out — swirl and swoon beneath a giant, lace-covered white globe that looks like a cross between the Moon and a Christmas bauble. With its vernacular inflections and athletic classicism, their movement has a seductively dreamy energy and elegance. It’s a vision of romantic perfection straight out of a perfume ad.
David Dougill, The Sunday Times
In a series of shows brought here over the past decade by this Brazilian company, we were gripped by the dancers’ exhilarating athleticism and ingenious interaction with spectacular stage sets — a Ferris wheel, a climbing wall, a cobweb of ropes, a field of porcelain vases, even a versatile three-storey house.
In the second half of Colker’s latest piece (reviewed at the Wycombe Swan; it plays this week in Cardiff, then Birmingham, and tours until July 3), her regular designer, Gringo Cardia, offers four revolving mirrored panels within movable frames, each with a porthole through which bodies can thrust or vanish, limbs fragment or multiply, forming eerie, inhuman shapes.
Hannah Waldram, Guardian
Rarely is such exquisite contemporary dance showcased outside of London – but as Deborah Colker takes her athletic Brazilian ensemble on tour across the UK – Cardiff’s audience was graced with a slice of dance of the highest calibre coming from the ultimate school of cool.
Colker’s work has glaring references to other great modern choreographers – the skimpy black undies and revolving sets have a hint of Matthew Bourne’s daring Dorian Gray – and Cruel by Colker, performed at Wales Millennium Centre, resonates the same tones of the dark salacious drive which can destroy a relationship.
The opening sequence is enough to keep you enraptured – the dancers draped in silky 1920s dresses perform a couples ritual under a huge globe of light. Soon the steps leave the symmetry of a familiar minuet and ease you into Colker’s statement moves for the piece – hand flicks, low back bends and spinning lifts are all performed in pairs with togetherness and slick timing.
Nick Ahad, Yorkshire Post
First off, bravo Bradford for persevering with this work.
The management of the theatre is bound to look at a theatre half-empty. I saw a theatre half-full, with an audience willing to take a risk on contemporary dance.
The Dance Consortium has been working to bring this medium to British audiences since the turn of the century, and that this kind of work is seen outside London is fantastic.
Brazilian Deborah Colker is one of the world’s leading choreographers. Cruel, presented in two acts, is at times a fantastic beast and at others a thing of beauty.
The stunning images created with bodies in motion in the first act are breathtaking and, contrary to the image dance sometimes has, fantastically accessible.
Diane Parks, Birmingham Post
Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker’s work never fails to surprise and thrill audiences and this latest work is as exciting as ever.
With strong physicality and incredible dexterity and energy, the cast explore many facets of cruelty.
This gives the dance a sometimes jagged edge and a harsh brutality as the artists force their bodies between the forms of other dancers and twist partners away.
Colker has been working with Cirque du Soleil and there is a real circus element to this piece. Not only in the acrobatic movements of the dancers but also in the humorous breaking of illusions and the creation of a perception only to smash it.