A sold-out Norwich Playhouse enjoyed a packed programme of dance that made you think, made you cry and made you smile.

Carrie MansfieldThe Garage’s creative director, thanked everyone for turning out on such a hot evening to support those taking part in this year’s Turnstyle platform.

“I also want to say a big thank you the dancers and choreographers who are committed to their art and have been working very hard. Tonight’s exciting because we get to see what they’ve been working on the studios for the last few months.”

The result of that work was wonderfully varied. From the raw beauty and innovative storytelling of Blakawt and Unknown Warriors to the sheer joy of Homage to the Earth and Oh The Places You’ll Go. The power of Everybody’s Talking, Nobody’s Listening to the playfulness of Dandelion.

Based around the theme “Headlines”, the performances were quirky, clever, joyful, unflinching haunting and topical with well timed mood changes and plenty of moments for individuals to shine.

The Garage‘s new inclusive dance company In Cahoots opened the night with Eye to Eye, choreographed by Abby Page. Where the line of heads can vary so much, they try not to lose sight of each other. Celebrating our differences and enjoying our similarities, this debut performance explored what it means to see eye to eye.

Rural Pulse and On The Move from Xen Arts presented Everybody’s Talking, Nobody’s Listening;  choreographed by Xenoula Eleftheriades and dancers of Xen Arts. This piece explored the young people who are making headlines by speaking out on issues like climate change to deprivation of an education, using their voices for positive change because nobody else is.

Blakawt, by Passion Productions and choreographed by Scott “Scooby” Atkins and performers, asked what would be the biggest news headline that never makes it to the front page? This was the story of a group of survivors struggling to cope with the end of humanity after the bombs start falling.

Homage to the Earth, presented and choreographed by Viji Moorthie, was a traditional prayer that thanked the Earth and elements of nature, again tying into the issues of climate change.

Full Tilt‘s Dandelion, choregraphed by Laura McGill, was inspired by Robert Macfarlane‘s poem of the same name. For some a dandelion is a weed, for others it evokes childhood games. The piece also explored our relationship with the natural world and how’re running out of time unless we change what we place value on.

Mini Pulse presented Generation of Media Overstimulation, choreographed by Danielle Gardner and dancers. Did you know the average person spends around four years of their lives looking at their mobile phone? The company has been working with social media based stimuli over the year to show the effect phones have on their generation and how we don’t just use technology, we live it.

Connect‘s The Reluctant Departure, choreographed by Emma Brady and dancers, explored themes relating to Brexit and the ideas of restlessness, identify ego and imprint.

Nature was also the theme of Acorn, presented by Mosaic and choreographed by Laura McGill; a response to Robert Macfarlane‘s poem of the same name. Taken from the book The Lost Words, it was written in response to nature words that have been removed from the junior dictionary and evokes images of how the biggest and mightiest objects and forces are made up of the smallest things. Mosaic used this concept to celebrate the individual but also show how, as a group, they are stronger together.

Flex presented Unknown Warriors, choreographed by Victoria Taylor, based on Winston Churchill‘s quote: “There are vast numbers, not only in this island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this war but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a war of the Unknown Warriors; but let us all strive without failing in faith or in duty.”

Rounding the evening off wonderfully was D4Dance with Oh The Places You’ll Go, choreographed by Katy Dunne with the dancers. Inspired by the lovely story by Dr Seuss. They explored the journey of life, the highs and lows, the worst and the best, the places where we get stuck and the choices we must make.

After the show Carrie added: “I want to say a heartfelt thank you for an amazing evening of stunning dance performances. The standard of work was exceptional and we’ve had some wonderful feedback across the board. A big thank you to Hannah BullentDanielle Gardner and Victoria Taylor for running the event. They did an amazing job and it all went incredibly smoothly.”

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