Fusion: In Motion – Review

The sheer amount of people and societies involved demonstrated that it isn’t cliquey or self-important. The performers appeared to be having a good time and at no point did the event seem to be taking itself too seriously

Fusion dancers'

Venue: Central Hall
Rating: * * *

Fusion attempts to encompass elements of fashion, drama and different kinds of dance. By its very nature, then, it would be difficult to demonstrate continuity or spectacle of consistent quality, but thematic choices and some aspects of presentation often gave the impression that Fusion is essentially an expensive, better-produced version of a secondary school variety show; it doesn’t do anything you wouldn’t expect but it’s reasonably entertaining.

Films were grouped into different genres, and for each genre there was a sequence of dances and a fashion scene, which contained vague strains of narrative. This was problematic: the idea of film could have been explored in such diverse ways, the notion of the audience watching the model as voyeurism, for example. Instead, basic genre definitions often resulted in uninspired sequences with little point and even less excitement. Having ‘Foreign Film’ as a genre was a laughable excuse to shovel in other societies and Mime, Samurai and Spanish themes, though these performances were all particularly good, with the PoleSoc performance resonating as the best visual idea and one of the most technically impressive of the night.

Sequences tended to end abruptly, with only film clips to bridge the gap. A lack of human presence in these scenes made it seem as if the sections had been carelessly slapped into haphazard order, rather than being made to construct an organic whole. The only sense of continuity was in the plethora of hip hop dance routines, which peppered each section regardless of relevance to the genre. The clothes were hit and miss, especially those from Huddersfield fashion students, which were sometimes wonderful, like in the brilliant ‘Halloween’ modelling piece, but often resembled the impoverished cousins of Central St Martins brethren. Attempts to draw plot into fashion sequences were unsuccessful; even Alex Forsyth’s Charlie Chaplin impersonation fell flat. Fusion is a bit like a blockbuster film. In a creative sense, it’s an absolute shambles, but its energy carries the production forward.

The normal criticism levelled at Fusion should be completely rebuked. None of the models appeared to be too thin, and having a selection process that eliminates the unattractive or those unable to walk to a beat is a completely viable idea – selecting unconventional models is something that only a small group of top designers occasionally do to get press attention. Additionally, the sheer amount of people and societies involved demonstrated that it isn’t cliquey or self-important. The performers appeared to be having a good time and at no point did the event seem to be taking itself too seriously.

The choice of music was consistently excellent. Mint Royale and Roisin Murphy provided excellent backing to enthusiastic dances, and even when the music approached commerciality good decisions were made. Using ‘Objection’ and ‘No Hay Igual’ was a nice touch in the Spanish Soc performance. The Sci-fi sequence was the point at which music, visuals and dance all came together to make something quite special. Models with beehives similar to those of Rock-Lobster era Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson gave robotic poses as “Need the love object to reciprocate” blared on the speakers. This was followed by a trippy Star Wars visual and an interesting Frankenstein/alien dance.

The best part was undoubtedly the initial dance in the ‘Romance’ section, which was graceful, showed a high level of technical skill and completely elevated itself above the syrupy montage of clips from ‘Titanic’ and ‘Dirty Dancing’ that had been shown beforehand. It was the only moment of genuine emotion in the whole show, telling a story with control and delight. A terrible modelling scene and a saccharine group dance came after it. This typified Fusion in Motion really, the odd sparkle wading amongst the dross. Maybe they should make it more cliquey.

What did you think of the performance? Do you agree with Liam? Send us your reviews via the comment form below.

14 comments

  1. It sounds like a mix of styles and level of talents. Most of these people aren’t exactly the world’s best at what they do so it’s a little harsh judging them as “terrible”.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to tonight, regardless of your opinion!

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  2. 2 Mar ’08 at 3:19 am

    Samuel Garrett

    I agree (almost) wholeheartedly with your review. Though I wasn’t so impressed by the choice of music, nor the rather haphazard mixing, I thought the choreography was top-notch. The major failing to my mind was the inattention paid to the assembly of the clearly separately conceived pieces. The music died mid-song was followed by silence (even from the crowd at times) and an empty, inactive stage. The pieces themselves didn’t really make much sense, even when contextualised in their genres. Having said that, the Japanese and Spanish societies were fantastic and there were numerous individual efforts. It just needed more thought when it came to putting everything together.

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  3. Vastly more accurate review than the one found at the Yorker.
    The show wasn’t a patch on last year!

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  4. “Dross” is a bit unfair. It wasnt that bad! However, it wasn’t as good a previous FUSION. It did lack the WOW factor from previous years.

    Still impressive though – if not a bit – well vanillia

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  5. Regardless of the writer’s opinion, it is highly unprofessional to include gross inaccuracies in a published article.

    As chair of Dance Society, i find it rather insulting that we are referred to as “Spanish Soc” just because we did a Flamenco style TAP piece, in which our dancers had our logo splashed all over their costumes..

    I cant see how the writer can be seen to be perceptive when necessary details such as this our over-looked..for heaven’s sake, a programme was only £1 with all proceeds to charity..!

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  6. 2 Mar ’08 at 6:07 pm

    Liam O'Brien

    Thanks for your comments.

    Just to apologise about the aforementioned ‘Spanish Soc’ faux pas. It will be corrected in the version of the review that appears in the paper itself.

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  7. learn to write an article in which you dont contradict yourself throughout. Check your facts, Dance Society not spanish society, mime was not performed by any society but by the fusion cast. You’re clearly bitter and cannot accept the charity show for what it is, a fund raiser which allows people in York to branch into something that doesnt involve drama soc or writing for a bitchy paper.

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  8. Perhaps what you refer to as being bitchy is in fact a critique of the performance.

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  9. Ace review. It’s nice that someone has the balls to critique properly.

    I was disappointed with Fusion – though the dancing was of a high quality, the whole affair was unfortunately mediocre – the dynamism of last year’s was lost; where were the props, spectacles, and innovations? It was to all intents and purposes a dance show – a good dance show – but still, not all it cracked up to be.

    Also, I wouldn’t say the article contained ‘gross innacuracies’ – mistakes, yes, but still.
    And how is it bitter?! You, anon, are obv bitter that Fusion didn’t get a five star review.

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  10. Great review. It was a mixed bag really, some bits were very good, other parts let it down. It didn’t justify the hype.

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  11. Spanish Soc doesn’t even exist!!

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  12. a little critical for the sake of being so. yes it may have been a mixed bag but this is not surprising considering the lack of experience many of the models and dancers have. not enough emphasis on the charity front, which must be more important than provoking comments on this website via over-critical analysis. but yes, refreshing to read something with confidence and genuine opinion.

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  13. 3 Mar ’08 at 8:49 pm

    James MacDougald

    That Fusion has charitable associations is no reason to give it a flowery review – who benefits from that?

    The criticism in this article is entirely constructive; any student endeavour, whether it be Fusion, a Drama barn play or even this newspaper, should be ready to accept, with good grace, as much or as little praise or criticism as it deserves.

    If, as some people clearly feel, Fusion has room for improvement, what harm is there in setting the bar a little higher?

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  14. Thank you for being nice about us, glad u enjoyed it! although i have to point out it’s the pole exercise club, dont worry everyone makes that mistake!
    Ellie pole exercise club president

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