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Resolution 2019 (Triple Bill 3)

by on 19 January 2019

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Resolution 2019 (Triple Bill 3)

Proxy               Shifted            Taffeta Dreaming

by Si Rawlinson         by Natalie Bell            by A.Cox, E. Howard and C. Williams

Wayward Thread, nat.co and Trah and Chips Theatre and Dance Ensemble at The Place, Euston, 15th January,
The Festival of New Choreography continues until 23rd February

A review by Mark Aspen

“Who are you?” A running theme of displacement preoccupies the triple bill on the third night of Resolution 2019, with three new choreographers looking from very different angles on the facets at the concept. Are we who someone else tells us to be? Are we who someone else forces us to be? Or are we who our own psyche tells us to be?

resrev3proxyDo we all figuratively dance in the dark? But before that, an explicit question “Who are you?” Perhaps impossible to answer, but this is the question that experimental choreographer Si Rawlinson asks his dancers, quite literally so, in Proxy, a piece that demands much more than physical prowess from them. His eclectic approach brings together semi-scripted dialogue, video techniques including infra-red imaging, and physical theatre to explore the authenticity of self. The answer to Rawlinson’s question is in the title of the piece: we are what others make of us. Laura Vanhulle and Dan Phung, an engaging pair of dancer-actors, manipulate each other physically and psychologically. Laura moves as Dan gives voice to his image of her movements, Dan speaks as Laura manipulates his face muscles, and yes, they do dance in the dark as we watch through spy cameras. But technology rules OK, audio visual artist Dan Lowenstein is on stage with all his paraphernalia and the auto-voyeurism of the ubiquitous selfie is lasciviously demonstrated by our dancers.  Proxy has the feel of work in progress and it begs a more rounded piece to allow us more of two supple and composed dancers.

resrev3shiftedcropShifted is supernal. From its lyrical opening to its tense conclusion, Natalie Bell’s intricately choreographed depiction of displacement is riveting. The piece has a narrative with a chronology double-defined by the distressful dichotomy of what is taken and what is left when humanity is uprooted. Whereas the season programme hinted at a reference to the refugee migrations into Europe over the last few years, this piece is far wider, its temporal and spatial co-ordinates being undefined. Shifted opens with an image reminiscent of a sea-anemone wafted to and fro by the currents. Is the creature confined or is she firmly rooted? Gabriele Martin moves with a limpid liquidity, but her ankles are tightly bound by the recumbent forms of fellow dancers Brandon Clarke and Samuel Ozouf. A dynamically depicted journey follows the turmoil of fleeing, at sea and on land. The precisely coordinated athleticism of the two male dancers underlined the agitation in this timeless study of expulsion and exile.

resrevtaffetaNow for something entirely different. Alex James-Cox’s characters in Taffeta Dreaming are displaced from the comfort of their northern hometown to the relentless pressure-cooker of London. Their story, told with well-defined body language, has open humour tinged with sincere pathos. Daisy is very fond of Isaac. Isaac is, however, a bisexual who is “trying to get to like girls”. The story unfolds in a robust blend of contemporary dance with stand-up, consummately delivered by Rebecca Hesketh-Smith and Stuart Thompson. When Isaac declares himself gay to Daisy, their experimental first kiss goes off, if you’ll excuse the term, at half-cock. The characterisation is spot-on: the awkwardness of encounter, the embarrassment of getting it wrong, the disappointments are all neatly portrayed, as brassy petulance and coy withdrawal fight for the moment.

Mark Aspen
January 2019

Read more at The Place’s Resolution Review

Photography by Dan Lowenstein, Dougie Evans and Tom Gimson

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