Review: Girl Jonah, Freddie Opoku-Addaie & Jorge Crecis, Dance Showcase at Rich Mix

Performance: 11 - 13 Jun 09
Reviewed by Libby Costello - Friday 19 June 2009

Rich Mix Double Bill. 'Bf' Freddie Opoku-Addaie and Jorge Crecis. 'She Was A Knife Thrower’s Assistant' girl jonah. 11-12 June

London has a new venue for dance – Rich Mix, the up and coming arts centre in Shoreditch, presented a its first programme of dance last weekend (11 – 13 June). The first billing brought two duets – one male, one female. Girl Jonah (Caroline Bowditch and Fiona Wight), performed She was the knife thrower’s assistant followed by Freddie Opoku-Addaie & & Jorge Crecis’s *Bf*.

She was the knife thrower’s assistant felt more like performance art, with songs and small gestures punctuating the narrative. Both dancers performed different sides to the same character with actionsl mainly in unison. Bowditch, a wheel chair user, moved in and out of the chair as well as manipulating the chairs height to add varying levels to the performance. Both performers sang for most of the 30 minute piece, using the lyrics to set the scene.

What a difference a venue makes! Freddie Opoku-Addaie & Jorge Crecis’s *Bf*, recently performed at T*he Place*, looked fresh and intense at Rich Mix. Opoku-Addaie, winner of the Robin Howard Foundation Commission and now an Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House, has recently presented his work at various locations in London but this staging gave Bf a brooding male intensity.

Presenting a power struggle between two men, the strong masculine choreography was accented with foot stamps and body slaps. The long opening section brought the two male dancers from upstage to downstage with a dynamic repetitive stamping sequence. The men’s focus was down, drawing attention to the feet increasing the intensity of the stamps. A power struggle between Opoku Addaie and Crecis then took place through a series of sinister and unrecognisable games. Opoku-Addaie played the manipulator, barking random numbers in illogical sequences but the power shifted as both dancers sought companionship which never came.

The impact of this performance came from the large shadows which loomed behind the dancers. The wide stage space allowed the shadows to be exaggerated, sometimes dwarfing the dancers whilst at others allowing Opoku-Addaie a dominating role.

On 13 June the Dance Showcase brought four more pieces to the stage with work from Cecile Feza Bushidi, Shamita Ray and Karensa Louis. Although the work had a graduate feel it was good to see some solid solos on the billing.

Ray’s two solo’s, Dark matter and *Ring Cycle*, combined Bharatanatyam and contemporary in contrasting pieces. Both pieces were reminiscent of Shobana Jeyasingh fusion technique but lacked the choreographic finesse. Circling the stage with contemporary footwork and South Asian inspired hand gestures, Ray didn’t quite transmit the theme of the mysterious content of the universe.

Karensa Louis’ Laughing to stop myself crying was the most successful work in the Showcase. Although the movement was predictable and choreography, at times, beyond the capabilities of the dancer, the piece as a whole was well polished. The most interesting section came as the lights dimmed to black out and Louis performed a Russell Maliphant inspired arm sequence. In the failing light the limbs appeared in a filmic way – as if the dancer was in fast forward.

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