Review: Resolution Reviews - Resolution 2017 - The Place

Performance: 12 Jan - 25 Feb 2017
Reviewed by Student Reviewers - Monday 6 March 2017


Resolution 2017 (12 Jan – 25 Feb 2017) Festival of Dance at the The Place’s annual festival of new works by emerging dance artists.

Thu 19 Jan

Azara Meghie Just Another Day
Just Another Day begins with percussion seeping through the darkness as you strain your eyes to see off-white costumes glowing faintly as if almost under a blacklight. The lights come up and Azara Meghie begins spinning her yarn of identity through poetry and breakdance accompanied by High Opinion Drums’ live rhythms. The themes of ethnicity and gender are nothing new but Meghie’s earnest charisma makes the piece decidedly likeable. The red lighting used provides a welcome contrast which offsets the warm bubble of her robust breakdancing. Against the red glow she describes a looming figure with folded arms and menace who is embodied by her own enlarged shadow.

Laura Calcagno and Camilla Isola Ondine
Laura Calcagno and Camilla Isola follow with intimate duet Ondine. The relationship between the two is so real and well-crafted that the audience feel they are intruding. The dancers’ intimacy grows throughout and after they shed their shirts they take on a merfolk-like quality. The lighting is low, and in tight flesh tones the two appear lithe and otherworldly – particularly during the close unison floor work. This is enhanced by haze, a film of waves and a sea soundscape which help to blur the lines of reality. The only let down is the lumpy transitions between sections which break the ethereal spell the rest of the work has striven so hard to create.

Taha Ghauri The Devil’s Workshop
Though the themes of The Devil’s Workshop are mature, the crude and childish manner in which it’s presented is not. Taha Ghauri’s gripes on sex, religion and people’s hypocrisy morph into contemporary dance with a witty narrative. The jokes are funny but the text suffers in comparison to Meghie’s earlier amiable honesty. Ghauri’s strength is his movement – he bursts forth from behind his words with aggressive athleticism that fills the space. Where the comedy becomes predictable the dynamic jumps and tumbles keep the work functioning to the end.

Fiona Yates
Fiona Yates is originally from Manchester and a recent dance studies graduate from Roehampton University.

Wed 25 Jan

Jessica Nina Barlow All in Minor
Jessica Nina Barlow presents to us All in Minor, a physicalized musing on Francois Bouchier’s works. The scene for this performance is striking for its contemporaneous slant on period costume, posing with familiar dance postures and positions, the turns and épaulement reminiscent of Classical ballet – the baroque soundtrack solidifies this effort. The two performers execute fast-paced and complex symmetry and dissonance. This is a light-hearted sketch; an eager, yet somewhat misguided brushstroke that does not quite elicit the deeper thematic subversion of Bouchier’s art.

Limb Dance Co. Abstract Romanticism
Abstract Romanticism is presented next by Limb Dance Co. Three bodies in space assume a formidable and tenuous pose; standing upon one leg, each dancer battles against balance and gravity. Successively, each diminishes the effort and what follows is a building cascade of effort and endurance. Bright colours adorn their rapidly tiring repetitions, audible heaving breath; they execute increasingly exhausting iterations akin to ideas of Mark Rothko’s abstract expressions. Limb Dance Co. show strength and fortitude, and, utilising their skilled control, make a trip to the gym seem like sweet slumber.

Awake Dance Company Lost and Found
Awake Dance Company plunge us into a thick smog, a hunched collective are just visible in brilliantly minimal lighting. We see the group shift and writhe with animalistic intent, any usurpers – lone wolves – acting out are quickly suppressed and re-assimilated into the group. A struggle of Id and Super Ego seems to take us through the acrobatic and fluidic transitions that the performers display. The pace is consistently driven; at times it breaks into a mess that somehow is absolutely a part of the system that these effortless movers have engendered. We witness a spectacle of force here – the natural performance is fierce and commands our senses to excite the most primal feelings and question who we are in an intelligent and surprising vision.

Fergus McIntosh
Fergus is an artist from Scotland, having been in London for the past 5 years, completing his MA at Trinity Laban in Dance Performance.

Sat 4 Feb

Becky Namgauds Exhibit F
Becky Namgauds’ solo Exhibit F is a poignant work that tackles femicide. Set to the haunting female vocal of Tristesse by Armand Amar, the lace-like wailing sorrowfully conjures distant lands. Namgauds begins kneeling with hair swept forward in a cascade of curls. Her hair remains key throughout, whether parted and dragged across the floor or spinning like a Catherine Wheel, as she tumbles roughly again and again across the floor. Uneasy and tussled Namgauds is bare chested and breathes heavily. Although the ending trails off inconclusively – likely due to this being a work in progress – it stands as a raw and commanding piece.

Dillon Dance We Stand Alone Together
We Stand Alone Together from Dillon Dance is a dynamic and well-executed journey into what strength means alone versus together. The stage is softly lit and smoky. Eight female dancers alternate between rowed formations, solo turns and paired struggle. With intensity, fluid limbs snap to the industrial soundtrack. The solos each begin with a jolt as if woken from a nightmare. Alone they must navigate their own frustrations and inner dialgoue. One screams “No” at the top of her lungs. A polished work from choreographer Shaun Dillon and a high-calibre cast.

Simone Damberg Würtz Tempus
Simone Damberg Würtz’s Tempus is an interpretation of new score Game on – inspired by Game Theory and the crimes of bankers – by composer Cheryl Frances Hoad. Pianist Yshani Perinpanayagam duets with the analog ‘computer speak’ of a Commodore 64. A female dancer is projected overhead as dancers Adam Park and Daniel Davidson deploy angular robotic jerks, mechanical paddles and (most pleasingly) graceful lifts as they converge in the centre. The outfits are silver and shiny, lending a metallic sense of spacey robot chic. A quirky assemblage that occasionally amuses and often bemuses.

Cath Carver
London born and raised, Cath Carver’s background spans colour, urban space, visual arts, music, consumer trends and fashion. As a writer she focuses on dance, culture, colour, cities and spirituality. Dance brings a huge amount of joy to her life. Cath has danced in clubs and classes around the world, from ecstatic dance forms to rave/nightlife culture. Cath is also the founder of Colour Your City, a movement dedicated to using colour to transform urban space.

Tue 14 Feb

Elisha Hamilton Dance RETALE
A vivid, colourful and imaginative night was sketched by memories, shadows and…boxes! How is that possible? Well, that is Resolution.
Elisha Hamilton draws a foggy forest made of carton boxes and unveils RETALE, a noisy youth-worshipping piece that teeters between humour and visual arts. Horns, passengers’ steps, buses and chattering mold a theatrical and playful attitude which is embodied by runs and pauses, sudden changes of direction and gentle yet sharp gestures. The whole scenery is gradually transformed into a real-life fairy-tale where boxes walk and a tree-high carton tower waves wherever the wind blows. Erratic movement patterns lead to a lyrical duet, whilst the boxes are being re-arranged only to collapse again. The parallel-action choreography keeps an unstructured framework which poetically mirrors our everyday lives.

Natalie Sloth Richter Bedtime Stories
Bedtime Stories change the atmosphere and incite us to travel through a reflective diary full of memories and emotions. Natalie Sloth Richter choreographs a four-all-female cast moving smoothly in front of a red font. They stretch out and extend their arms in different directions. Suspension and gentle falls, rolls and recovery create a windy pulse to the words “I want to remember when I can’t, I am afraid”. A lullaby-like original sound score by CERAA and Luke York accompanies this pleasurable yarn. Yet, it could be more kinetically developed and open its introverted diary more generously to the audience.

LCDance Comrades in the Dark
The performers of Comrades in the Dark put their feet down – metaphorically and literally – and re-energise the whole theatre. LCDance successfully transfer our thoughts to the hunger strikes of Irish republicans in 1981 and paradoxically, leave me with an optimistic taste. An all-male cast of ten move to military Irish-influenced music and emerge from their prison cells contracting and rippling through their naked upper bodies. They open their mouths violently with their hands, reminding me vividly of Munch’s Scream. Firing squad patterns explode electricity while we hear their heavy breaths. Everything screams heroism and I keep murmuring the rhythm.

Wed 15 Feb

Susan Kempster & Nicholas Minns Black Widow (on dying and the art of not complaining)
TenOverSix Unwinding I
Scatterlings All Over & Everywhere

‘Do you think they get it…?’ Susan Kempster and Nicholas Minns’s hushed whispers boom through the blackout. They inch through different angular positions, dressed in macabre, funereal dresses. Black Widow (on dying and the art of not complaining) is an intimate conversation on the commodification of the arts. Kempster’s eyes watchfully flick between Minns and the audience as she speaks; conspiratorial and questioning. The two paint themselves as black widow spiders, dance artists being consumed by the system, like the male spider is consumed by the female. It’s a tenuous connection and they subtly play with the silliness of it with deliciously sharp timing and self-awareness.

Unwinding I is a sinister exploration of fragmented personality, without a trace of Black Widow’s humour. Initially Ruxandra Chealru’s muscular movements are lit only by her handheld torch. The light bounces around leaving us disoriented, unsettled. Disembodied female voices skip through Amy Robinson’s script. Chealru matches the jittery, unpredictable rhythm of the voice-over perfectly while Katharine Le Roux stalks shark-like around her. The angst sometimes feels over the top, but mostly these are powerful, confident performances that leave us with a burgeoning sense of unease.

The humour returns in All Over and Everywhere, but again there are darker underlying themes. Five dancers of multiple nationalities playfully explore their feelings about borders, the refugee crisis, and their ’Post-Brexit Blues’. There is a joyful optimism here, the dancers create their own ‘non-binary, borderless republic’ and erupt into floor stomping, grin inducing folk dance. Clever moments include the ritualistic worship of a British Passport and a movement section that is clearly a mashup of gestures, recognisable from different cultures. It’s self-aware too, cleverly avoiding the ‘happy- clappy’ trap. Isabel Brittain gently reminds us of our tendency to hide from the horrors of the world: ’You can’t learn with your eyes closed, or in a … tree pose…’ This is political and playful dance theatre that brilliantly captures the mood of the moment.

Ruby Embley
Ruby grew up in London and graduated from The Place in 2015. Since then she’s been dancing, teaching and travelling, Resolution Review is her first experience of dance writing.

Fri 24 Feb

Dot.Consla & Sarita’s Dance Lab Glimpses
Dance fusion permeates the penultimate triple bill of Resolution and showcases how contemporary dance embraces all cultures and genres to elevate choreography. The sensual Latin dance style of Brazilian Zouk is questioned and fragmented in Dorottya Ujszaszi and Sarita Piotrowski’s Glimpses. The duo interrogates the traditional partner dance with an exploration of duality and independence. Their initial efforts to forge a peaceful partnership are ruined as a savage duet breaks out. The state of their relationship sporadically flickers throughout the piece – aggression, flirtation, coyness, playfulness, and desperation are all experienced. The strong purpose of the work unravels in its closing moments with a private glimpse into their choreographic process as they sketch and create material together. Although an effective device, it seems alien to the otherwise accomplished piece.

Salah El Brogy Company Letting Go
A personal and eclectic tale of grief is described by Egyptian choreographer, Salah El Brogy, in his solo performance, Letting Go. At times he dons a djellaba and headscarf to transform into a dying man. He moves through the motions of death with sharp gasps and sudden collapses. The piece develops into a childhood memory which inspires the intriguing examination of an infant’s behaviour. This enthralling action is laced with outstanding virtuosity as he blends capoeira fighting movement with his own contorted dance style. El Brogy’s sophisticated choreography finds a natural point of balance between unnerving and poignant.

House of Absolute Warrior Queens
House of Absolute form their own tribal culture in the ritualistic dance, Warrior Queens. Seven fierce women are possessed by furious clawing hands and contorted torsos. Dynamic hip-hop qualities and distinctive Waacking arm movements are subtly and skilfully blended with contemporary dance to create a primal language. A cloak is used to distort the human form as it conceals parts of the dancers’ bodies and is pulled into twisted shapes. Anticipation boils up with the raw power of the work but is disappointingly let down by the absence of any climactic moment.

Maria Hardcastle
Maria recently graduated from London Studio Centre with a BA (Hons) in Theatre Dance, where she specialised in Contemporary dance as a member of Intoto Dance Company. She has gone onto write for Resolution Review and continues to write reviews and feature articles on her blog where she channels her passion for dance and critical writing.

Thu 24 Feb

Jair Ramirez Sugarman
Modern day reality: it’s usually something we go to the theatre to escape. In fact, as Thursday night’s triple bill demonstrated it’s the playful contrast between the mundane and marvellous, embodied in the dancers’ bodies, that create moments of transcendence.
Jair Ramirez’s Sugarman self-consciously contrasts monotonous routines with acrobatic stunts which literally and figuratively allow him to rise above the pressures of modern life. Through clever use of straps and stagecraft (a briefcase becomes a typewriter, mist embodies the commuter’s drudgery) Ramirez creates a series of lasting, symbolically charged, images. For me, I still see him as he spins in a circle dangling by his head from the aerial strap: is he playing a childish game or is this the rope he will hang himself from?

The Rebirth Network Reuben Parker
Reuben Parker is similarly concerned with the nature of reality and our attempts to escape it. With a large and infectiously enthusiastic cast The Rebirth Network uses multimedia and narration to create an ambitious hip-hop dance drama about a man who can shape his own reality. This conceit is effectively translated into puppet-master duets where the hero directs the movements of those around him. Both touching and uncomfortable, the hero’s will and physical mastery cannot transform the sick and deformed body of his mother. It’s this moral undercurrent, reinforced by the super-hero style of narration, which is left unresolved by an abrupt ending.

Maria Lothe & Co Can you hear the sound of the flowers?
Can you hear the sound of the flowers? by Maria Lothe & Co uses the idea of ecosystems and sustainability as both movement inspiration and a way to consider the ethics of the everyday. Shifting across the stage on their backs, three dancers hold up potted plants as though they are a sacred source of power. However, collaboration breaks down into guttural grunts and isolated jarring movements as Lothe &Co struggle to find a suitably sophisticated vocabulary for a concept as abstract as permaculture.

Erin Whitcroft
Erin Whitcroft is a professionally trained ballet dancer having moved from the United States as a teenager to train at The Royal Ballet’s lower and upper schools where she won the Ursula Moreton choreographic award. Since her performance career ended she has continued to research the history of dance and holds a Masters in English from the University of Durham. She regularly present papers at academic conferences about both literature and dance and has reviewed dance productions for the Bristol Evening Post, The Independent and

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