Ascendance Rep: Standing Stones Tour

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.


  1. Standing Stones, from the Ascendance Rep Company, is utterly beautiful’ so says Kevin Berry
    (The Stage and I have to agree with him.

    Of our party of 6 attending the performance at York Minster, 4 had never been to a dance event before. It was pleasing to note that they all would go again. One guest was really disappointed when it was over!

    I had no idea what to expect. The grandiose and cavernous venue was imposing, the music exquisite, and the four dancers, undaunted by their surroundings drew the attention and delighted and impressed their audience. Pleasure was written on many faces straining to see every poised and graceful movement from the confines of the church pews.

    The performance succeeded on many fronts, cleverly done, attention to detail, confident and supportive dancers, unusual setting and as with our party, a pleasing introduction to the arts to a new audience.

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  2. Could not find any other dance reviews by Jonathan, perhaps this was his first?

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