Review: Resolution! at The Place

Performance: 5 Jan - 17 Feb 07
Reviewed by Mariko Harano - Friday 9 February 2007

Monday 5 February

It’s always a great joy to find a small, rough gemstone during “Resolution!” . The last piece of the triple bill at the Place on Monday, White Wall Dance Theatre‘s 1200, is certainly one of the shiny rocks.

The 20 minute (equals 1200 seconds) mini dance drama depicting the tedium and misery of a routine working life is full of wit and humour, with a little pathos. Two performers (Christian From & Laure Bachelot, who are also co-choreographers), in dull black and white working attire, rhythmically express the mechanical routine of workroom chores. The backdrop shows the time counting down from 1200, which is indicated sometimes in 4 digits and at other times in 6 digits (where the speed of counting down increases by 100 times). As the flickering of numbers gallops, the dancers’ movements become frenzied. It’s a clever gimmick to suggest the length of time felt psychologically. As is obvious from the two performers’ speech about time, the notion of time is a major concern of this work. Then, the frantic working scene is interrupted by a short sequence in which the mood becomes somber and reflective. Here, the two dancers connect to each other in a chain of movements reminiscent of contact improvisation. In spite of their physical closeness, the relationship between them remains asexual and rather formal. Their sympathy to each other lies in sharing the daily struggle rather than in romance. With their eloquence in both physical and hilarious facial expressions, From and Bachelot present a good example of short dance theatre in which movements, words, visual and acoustic elements are integrated to good effect. It’s a thoroughly entertaining work.

The two preceding pieces of the evening are more serious, anxious and abstract. Both works use an electrically produced collection of sounds, screen projections on the backdrop and rather dark lighting with the occasional use of spot lights.

Agape Dance Group‘s *Surviving Prometheus* has a somewhat ritualistic feel with three serene-looking dancers (Chang Ho Han, Hye Seung Oh*and *Jin Deok Park) all in white smocks and trousers. The textbook modern dance movements emphasise the two female dancers’ elegant long limbs and extensions, as well as the agility and sleekness of the male dancer. Accordingly to the programme note, this piece is about conflict between “hyper-reality” created by modern technologies and the “corporeality” of human existence. The constantly flipping projections on the backdrop represent “techno-scientific civilization”, while the three performers embody humanity threatened by the excessive advance of technology. However, one can hardly feel the tension between these two dichotomous spheres. The visual effects on the screen functions as a mere background of pretty movements, not as a medium of conveying the menace of the digital world.

The middle piece, Chris Clow‘s *In a place of uncertainty* is also performed by two female dancers (Lauren Aizlewood and Minami Tamagawa) and a male dancer (Andrej Gubanov). Here they are all in black and conventionally chic. Combining promenading, lying down, rolling and subtle hand gestures around faces, the movement vocabularies are intriguingly varied. It’s a melancholic dance anthology.

All in all, the evening displays a positive attempt by young dance makers to incorporate visual and acoustic effects in order to highlight their respective subject theme – a welcome trend.

What’s On