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Glimpsing Dance Possibilities Beyond the Music

Emilia Adelöw 'Rosting,' Rachel Lopez de la Nieta's 'A sort or kind,' Suzannah West   'Vent'

by Lyndsey Winship

January 17, 2004 -- The Place, London

The Aerowaves performances at Resolution! are all UK debuts from international companies. They're that little bit more experienced than the first time Brits and it shows.

Emilia Adelöw, representing Sweden, is tonight's class act. In "Rosting" there's a stage strewn with chairs, a blonde in a black dress, a good looking guy wearing stubble and a suit, and a lot of sexual tension. This predatory pair know the ways and wiles of modern romance. They ask for attention yet act like they don't need it. Can you offer yourself up without letting your guard down?

When he gets hold of her, testosterone thrusts to the surface – along with some gutsy choreography. This is confrontational courting. But when they tire of the game and head for the bedroom, vulnerability is laid bare. There's very little actual contact between the couple but less proves more when the result is deliciously sensual.

Rhythm builds seductively and the highly charged heat rises – like real sex rather than its stylised stage cousin. But rather than climax, it cools off. Let down by trite music, "Rosting" doesn’t leave you completely satisfied but it certainly stands out.

In comparison, Rachel Lopez de la Nieta's "A sort or kind" just simmers. A short solo, ably danced by Henrietta Hale – mostly on her hands and knees – is promising but needs embellishment. The pivotal moment comes when a flock of birds are illuminated overhead, their shadows thrown onto the stage, circling our earthbound dancer. Entranced by the image, she spreads her arms and runs, desperately in search of flight – but like this piece – doesn't quite take off.

'Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em' seems to be the message in Suzannah West's "Vent". Men, women, friends or lovers, other people are an eternal source of strife. If the previous piece was a sketch, then this is a textbook crammed full of ideas. The company of five try Alston-esque abstraction, martial art-inspired sparring, some shouting, some comedy, ensembles, solos and duets.

What she needs to erase is the choreographic process. It’s like watching a workshop, seeing the dancers move through possibilities, often chancing on an innovative balance or nice detail, but nonetheless exposing the workings. Great choreography should feel instinctive, never laboured.

The young dancers need a little fine-tuning and like all of tonight's pieces, "Vent" suffers from insipid music – a repetitive plodding keyboard and endless arpeggios. No more please. This feels like a choreographer revising everything she's learnt so far. Now she needs to branch out on her own.

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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