Event: Ascendance Rep: Standing Stones Tour
Venue: York Minster
Rating: * *
Premiered in the Minster last Friday, Standing Stones is the latest outing of the renowned Ascendance REP and is designed specifically for cathedral spaces. The performance must therefore be judged partially on its relevance to the setting, something which I felt was notably absent.
The second and third movements were the highlight of the performance and effectively showcased the skill and competence of the individual dancers. At one point, one of the dancers entered on stilts and acted as an unusual prop with the materials her costume factoring in to the choreography which was thoroughly entertaining and evidently well received. Unfortunately, a few tiresome clichés subtracted from the quality of the performance. I fought the urge to roll my eyes when selected audience members were given apples by one of the performers imitating a court jester.
Despite a few high notes, however, the performance in its entirety was decidedly lacklustre. The production aimed to celebrate the “magnificence” and “timeless continuity” of the setting but fell disappointingly short of its target. The choreography failed to capture the scale and grandeur of the setting and felt decidedly unrelated to what was the core inspiration of the project. Standing Stones was entertaining but instead of “celebrating” its surroundings, it appeared embarrassingly inferior in comparison to the architecture which undoubtedly stole the show.