KaSt Dance Company in Family Matters

The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
October 24, 2016

Róisín O’Brien

The great Pina Bausch has a lot to answer for. Quirky individuals haphazardly navigating around the performance space and each other is a choreographic method that has dug its heels into contemporary dance.

It is with this lineage that KaSt, an Aberdeen based contemporary dance company, showcase Family Matters. A light-hearted and ultimately inoffensive work, its patchwork structure creates delight in the random and incidental, rather than necessarily deriving any new meanings from such collisions.

The evening is prefaced with Meta, a duet created by company dancer Sara Kemal under the Scottish Ballet’s mentorship project, Anserinae. There are arching arm swings, pecking head movements and satisfying slices through placed body shapes that give the duet its personal, crisp flair. It is a bit of a struggle to find a clear development, and the costumes, while no doubt sourced with a minimal budget, fall down by using those so often worn in contemporary dance black leggings. Nonetheless, this is a confident, well-rehearsed opener for the evening.

KaSt Dance Company in Meta by Sara KemalPhoto Sid Scott/seeimaginedefine for DanceLive16
KaSt Dance Company in Meta by Sara Kemal
Photo Sid Scott/seeimaginedefine for DanceLive16

Family Matters, the main event, involves community dancers alongside the company members in a mostly seamless fashion. While it aims to explore the varied aspects of family life, there is a level of sweetness that can turn syrupy, while the music can at times be slightly overbearing in its zeal. Family Matters is a dance of Facebook shares and likes, and bright, Google-logo colour schemes.

The company dancers are facially very expressive, and efficiently dynamic when they shoot across the floor. There is some element of prediction in the steps, so that you at times get a sense of what type of movement they will do next. A particular strong moment, however, is a duet between Will Hodson and Rachel Morgan. Their duet is wonderfully childish and affectionate, with some engaging contact work negotiating each others’ weight.

KaSt have stated that Family Matters is the first of their shows to combine their professional and community casts. I would be intrigued to see them tackle more demanding themes in their other works: they certainly have the technique and discipline to do so.

KaSt Dance Company performed as part of DanceLive16.

For more great dance photography by Sid Scott, visit www.seeimaginedefine.com/dance.