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Dance Review: I Don’t Wanna Dance Alone

I Don’t Wanna Dance Alone is a piece of dance theatre created by Cindy Yunha and on stage as part of the 2024 Auckland Festival of the Arts. 

It’s a performance which interprets Yunha’s experience of delving into the world of contemporary dance some twenty years ago and her sense of isolation and trepidation in doing so. 

It begins with a young woman in a small bedroom to one side of the stage. Eleven dancers fill the rest of the floor and move in unison to a dance track with a heavy beat. She joins them, tries the moves, but ultimately seems lost. 

Over the course of the fifty minute show, she either joins in or sits out other more stylised pieces. In one long scene, all the dancers and their loved ones sit for a meal at a long table. The girl has been invited, but has declined as she still doesn’t feel she fits in. This is despite the fact that everyone seems to like her and misses her. 

Over time, the narrative changes and she starts to reach out and feel more comfortable. I have to say it was a treat to watch this endearing story play out.

Interestingly, all of the participants are new to contemporary dance and, as the playbill acknowledges, they are learning as they perform. Being newbies meant they didn’t quite have the polish of professional and more experienced practitioners of the art, however, the entire ensemble delivered very strong performances. 

I was impressed with their energy and the stylistic ways they delivered the choreography. What stood out most of all is the obvious delight they had in performing and the trust they clearly felt with one another. 

Equally impressive were the costumes which ranged from doll-like tunics with ruffles through to well tailored jackets in a range of bold colours. The soundscape was well suited to the individual pieces as well. 

At the centre of this story was the notion of isolation and a desire for belonging. What was clear to me is that sometimes alienation can be caused both by other people, or by our own internal monologue and assumptions. Sometimes by reaching out to others we find they are not as remote as we believe.

I Don’t Wanna Dance Alone had some very touching and emotional moments in it as well as some thought provoking but more esoteric sequences.  

This troupe may be new to contemporary dance but they delivered a lovely piece of performance theatre and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. 

I DON’T WANNA DANCE ALONE 

Q Theatre – Loft

15-17 March 2024

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