Celia Grannum 'Goodbye Saturn,' Sara Crow & Co 'Something Outside,' Influx Dance Company 'Malleus Maleficarum'
by Lyndsey Winship
27 January 04 -- The Place, London
Image: Celia Grannum
Celia Grannum is a fine dancer, and her long, long limbs and sensual, elegant, earthy presence will soon have you hooked. "Goodbye Saturn" opens with Grannum dressed in white rags, back to the audience, hands slapped behind her shoulder blades. Pulling and jerking, her bones are pushed to the edges of their sockets.
In silence, she expels bursts of movement, using her breath as much as her limbs to power her forward. Well rooted, she soars straight upwards and her pointed toes seem to be pulling her back to earth. As the momentum is starting to fade, Grannum turns an unexpected corner, washing up on a beach with projected waves rolling over her body. Our drowning dancer gives herself up to this serene end, but we can be sure that Grannum herself won't disappear so easily.
In "Something Outside", Sara Crow and Chris Tandy play a couple caught in a stale domestic routine. Might they rediscover a delicate moment together? The journey is a muted experience, a quiet agreement between a familiar couple who can be tender without touching, and expressive without eye contact. His dancing is soft at the edges while she is a sharper presence, although that might just be the bright 60's-print dress.
Finally, they succumb to an unfussy embrace as Tom Waits rasps, "you haven’t looked at me that way in years', and it's a genuinely touching moment. But there's no placatory happy ending. We know, and they know, that they're both dreaming of being somewhere else. "Something Outside" is no incredible adventure in choreography but it's a real grower, a gently evocative piece of theatre.
Tonight's programme closes with a paean to women murdered in the witch trials of the 16th and 17th centuries, from Influx Dance Company. In "Malleus Maleficarum" choreographer Joanne Willmott attempts to rewrite the legend and salvage the strength and dignity of a persecuted people.
The accused septet are identically dressed in long black skirts and sleeves, their individual identities erased. Whispers from the wings taunt the silenced women whose own voices have been stolen. The dancers make strong gestures and crooked motifs, feet widely planted, arms at long reach. With faces skyward and chests pushed forward in defiance, or perhaps prayer, there are echoes of Martha Graham – although again, maybe it's just the dresses.
These are not wild
women. They find power in order, and make an impact with unified ensemble
passages, alternated with fervid torrents of movement. Ultimately, they
remain stoical in the face of hanging or violent drowning. What gives
this piece an extra dimension is its mournful, folkish soundtrack by Daniel
Shaw, performed live by two cellists. Shaw's wandering melodies and groaning
chords infuse real life into this woeful dance of death.
Lyndsey Winship’s article was written for Resolution! Review on the Place's website. For more, click here: Resolution! Review
Edited by Jeff.