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Resolution! and Reprise at the Place: 2 Views

Jean Abreu ‘Hibrido’; In Our Own Company 'Aftermath’; Naked Fish Productions ‘Fugue for a Furnished Flat’

Image: Jean Abreu


Lyndsey Winship and Stuart Sweeney saw these three dances a year apart -- they formed the opening evening of Resolution! 2004 as a sort-of Greatest Hits from Resolution! 2003. Lyndsey and Stuart compare notes.


By Stuart Sweeney

Congratulations to The Place for yet again mounting Resolution! and with more performances than ever before.

The "Greatest Hits from 2003" is a good idea and by chance I saw all 3 of the performances that John Ashford has selected and I would not argue with his choice. Here are my reviews of the three pieces:

“Hibrido” by Jean Abreu - 7th February 2003

The high spot of the evening for me was “Hibrido” by Jean Abreu. This was a First-Footing presentation, that is, a first time visit by a company. However, we saw a wealth of dance talent from the performers – Abreu is with Protein Dance and Marion Ramirez has danced with various companies, including a notable duet with Darren Johnson. With a mix of Latin American and Modern movement, “Hibrido” has a strong structure and much choreographic interest and deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

At first the two dancers stand one behind the other and slowly move away in simultaneous solos at the end of a long diagonal. Abreu performed Capoeira moves with powerful grace and Ramirez moved sinuously and with a precision that sometimes took my breath away. After these extended linked solos, the dancers move together for an intense and fascinating duet full of sensuality and melancholy, as the two figures struggle to find common ground. At the end, we see them walking away from each other in sadness.

The emotional charge of “Hibrido” was no doubt heightened by the fact that this was Marion Ramirez’s last performance here before her visa runs out. CriticalDance wishes her every success in New York, but we hope to see her back before too long as she has proved one of the best young dancers performing in the UK over the past couple of years. Remarkably, this was Abreu’s first attempt at choreography and is one of the most promising debuts I can remember at Resolution!

“Aftermath” by In Our Own Company, Gildas Diquero - 14th February 2003

So to the dancing, and the highlight was “Aftermath” by In Our Own Company and Gildas Diquereo. This was included in the First Footing section.. Though Diquero has only choreographed one workshop piece before, he is one of the most adept modern dancers in the country and his partner in the work, Dylan Elmore, also enjoys a strong pedigree from Batsheva Dance Company. To a mix of electronic sounds, piano tunes and narrative from director, Stuart Lynch, Elmore and then Diquero each performed a solo while the other looked on. Both were danced to the highest standards and Elmore began and ended his section with a memorable move: his arms curved in front of him and turning with a simple but eloquent step to allow his feet to catch up with his body. The relative softness of his dance was contrasted with Diquero’s solo with swinging arms stretched out and rapid, distance-covering steps.

But most remarkable was the duet that followed. This was filled with conflict and abrasive jerks and pulls, showing a relationship with many points of contact, but no harmony. Whereas Russell Maliphant’s male duets are all smooth power, “In Our Own Company” sometimes made me worried for the safety of the dancers. In the end there was a change of pace and a greater understanding between the two characters, reflected in dance where they accommodated, rather than resisted, each other’s dynamic. This was a successful second work from Gildas Diquero, although perhaps the solos could bear some editing. I hope we see more from this gifted dance artist.

“Fugue for a Furnished Flat” by Naked Fish Productions - 14th February 2003

Naked Fish Productions gave us “Fugue for a Furnished Flat”, choreographed and performed by Sarah Fahie and Antonio Caporilla. In a room the two characters follow their own paths to great humorous effect and a few comments about the consequences of taking self-interest too far. The dance opened with Caporilla playing a record on-stage repeatedly, occasionally looking across at Fahie. I remember thinking that he looked like a finalist in a Vinnie Jones look-alike competition, and lo and behold, when he got up to dance we saw football kicks and headers amid speedy, neat steps.
Eventually Fahie’s seductive, yet awkward movement gets his attention and they duet in their own styles, ending on the floor, wrapping themselves around each other. Post-coitus, Caporilla is more interested in a solo card game, shuffling the cards behind his partner’s back. After an anguished monologue and tears from Fahie, it begins to look as if Caporilla has begun to get the message. Then in a memorable coup de theatre finalé, he turned his attention to the audience where about 10 people stood up and sang along to the Halleluiah chorus – his love of music comes first. While it sags a little in the middle, “Fugue” has enough jokes and interesting dance to make it an enjoyable work.

By Lyndsey Winship

5 January, 2004 – The Place, London

Despite being a forward-looking festival, Resolution! 2004 began with a re-run. Three companies who made their mark in last year's event returned with a trio of duets.

First up, Naked Fish and “Fugue for a Furnished Flat”. A man and woman steal quiet afternoons together in a rented flat, embracing under a bare bulb, dancing to a crackly gramophone, brought together not so much by chemistry as loneliness.

Their personalities jar. His moves are footballing kicks and handstands, agile if undancerly, while she is gentle and a little coquettish. After a hesitant start the couple are soon engrossed in manipulation, conflict and reconciliation, and some nice comic moments. Yet when the outside world invades, their liaison crumbles. If only we could play out all our failed romances in 25 minutes.

In “Hibrido”, Jean Abreu blends contemporary dance with capoeira. Abreu himself is a captivating performer, finding the right balance between strength and softness, restraint and abandon.

When he and partner Natasha Gilmore meet, what begins as confrontation becomes a counter-balance and finally a single soul. “Hibrido” is a welcome anomaly – a male/female duet that doesn’t deal in sex – and Abreu is a welcome addition to the UK dance scene.

In the final piece, In Our Own Company's “Aftermath”, two dancers take the stage separately. One is seized by restlessness, flinging his arms across his body as if he's trying to get rid of them. The other turns in tiny circles, torso and pelvis at odds with one another.

A multi-layered soundscape projects echoing beats, a muted piano, a gravelly hum and some bitchy horoscopes. There's so much going on that it's hard to concentrate on the dancing – until the two men come together, tentatively but ominously.

They try to evade each other but can't let go. Denying intimacy, they grab onto wrists instead of hands and carelessly drag each other's bodies until at last they give in and crush the space between them. It's all about getting under somebody's skin, and this is a company that seems to know how to do it.

Lyndsey Winship’s article was written for Resolution! Review on the Place's website.  For more, click here:  Resolution! Review

Edited by Jeff.

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