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Alleyne Dance - Far From Home

Alleyne Dance - Far From Home

Alleyne Dance (AD) is a UK based company with an international reach, founded in 2014 by award winning dancers and twin sisters Kristina and Sadé Alleyne. The choreographic aesthetic reflects the sisters diverse background in athleticism and dance training.

Within their abstract contemporary construct, Alleyne Dance blend West African, Caribbean, Hip Hop, Kathak and Circus Skills, delivered as fast paced and dynamic movement. They infuse lyrical and fluid motion, layered with rhythm and textures in physically powerful, yet graceful performances.

Alleyne Dance strives for high quality and excellence as the Company delivers its three main objectives: performance, participation and development. In 2023, Alleyne Dance were winners of Black Female Icons of Lewisham with Brockley Max and The Mayor of London, and the Company also received the award for Best Independent Company at the National Dance Awards.

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Alleyne Dance - Far From Home ON TOUR

Our review on Alleyne Dance - Far From Home

Alleyne Dance's Far From Home - The Lowry, Salford - Wednesday 26th March 2024 by Abigail Holden

Our Rating

Before this show, I must confess, I knew very little about Alleyne Dance or any of their previous work. I knew that it would be movement based, which was exciting as I love physical theatre - especially dance. Apart from that, however, I knew nothing else. After researching more into Alleyne Dance, I was delighted to find that it was founded by twin sisters, Kristina and Sadé Alleyne, hence the company name, whose choreography showcases their exceptional talent to its fullest. They did not disappoint.

This one-act wonder told the tales, through movement, of the struggles faced by individuals of migrant families and how hard it is to move from your home country, often not by choice but by need, and the reception they get when they arrive at their new home. It began with a simple silhouette of a girl, tied down to people trying to drag her back, by long braids, walking towards another, holding out her arms for help. I was mesmerised from that moment. The motif of the hair, which was then used by different members of the main six performers of the company, (Kristina Alleyne, Sadé Alleyne, Bryan Doisy, Giorgia Gasparetto, Juan Jesus and Iro Konti) to show their pain and how they are clinging on to that hope that things will get better, was ingenious.

It created a visual entity for the way they were feeling and the way they were being downtrodden. From being surrounded by water, to fighting to survive, this piece brought to life a tale that often gets overlooked and forgotten. The tale of Far From Home is open to interpretation from the audience. There is no story being told, by words. It is all movement that the audience gets to piece together the meaning of for themselves. I love the kind of theatre that creates different emotions and experiences for each and every audience member and this did just that. Everyone came away from the experience with something unique to them which was wonderful to see from fellow audience members.

The journey that the audience is taken on is all-encompassing of the pain, struggles, separation and long arduous travels, all whilst highlighting the good things too; the joy of reconciliation, the relief of being somewhere safe and the making of friends along the way. One particular favourite moment of mine was between Kristina and Sadé. They sat together, at the front of the stage, whilst the company and ensemble moved behind them on a journey, in a beautiful little world of their own. A particularly nice touch, for me, was the inclusion of some sign language. It really helped to enhance the performance in a way that I can’t describe. As someone who understands sign language, it really helped to give an insight into how their characters were feeling. The way that the pair move together is seamless. They seemed to blend into each other - no beginning or end between them both. There was only togetherness and fluidity. It was pure magic in movement and I wish I could relive that again for the first time. However, I am sure a second, and even third time, would feel just the same.

The set for the piece was simple, with a sandy, soily stage, and big sheets of material hanging from the back and at an angle on each side. Some of the most beautiful, and haunting, movements happened when they backlit the cloth and danced behind it, showing scenes of people suffering in fire. The projections on the cloth, of browns and oranges, helped to bring those images to life, also. It made me catch my breath. And it made me really think how lucky I am. The thought-provoking way they draw you in is something I have never seen before and don’t think I will see ever again. It gave me chills.

I can’t speak about the beauty of this piece without mentioning the music (composed by Guiliano Modarelli, who was also the musical director, and Nicki Wells). At every moment, it fit perfectly and pulled something new into the movement. It gave it meaning and explanation with no words. Even in the moments where there was no music, the company was so in-sync that they didn’t miss a single beat. The skill and talent on display is reason enough to go and watch this, let alone the rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts it takes you on, as an audience member. The music the company made themselves, through stomping and clapping really helped to portray the frustration and anger, at times. I really loved the juxtaposition of those quiet moments, compared to the moments when the music soared. It personified the feelings being portrayed at each moment.

The cast wasn’t just made up of the six performers, however, even though they did dominate the tales being told. A beautiful addition to the group was the local community cast, made up of members from The Lowry Centre for Advance Training, as well the Alleyne Dance interns, Rosa Lieckens, Katherine White, Guilia Carastro, Leila Patricia Akers and Anna Maria Ilieva Bilioni. The inclusion of these people, in particular the local community cast, made the performance even more special, with members of the audience being proud parents, siblings, guardians and friends of the people on the stage. It really made the piece into a local collaboration and celebration of local migrant families, by telling those tales and having people from the community representing those around us that have lived through the experiences that were being portrayed.

In conclusion, I have come out of this experience with a new view on the struggles that migrant families face. I must admit, I have never been provoked to feel and think about it in such depth, before I saw this, and I am so glad I did. The way they highlight the overlooked and often ignored members of our community spoke to me and made me realise just how lucky I am to be surrounded by such strong and courageous people everyday. The hardwork and talent of the cast really did bring these tales to life, in the most beautiful way. I was in awe of their synchronicity and strength and think that anyone who loves physical theatre and dance should definitely go and see this stunning display of humanity and tragedy.



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