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Tight Corner Dance Company
'Perfectly Valid,' In:House 'Out of Body,' OKKO Dance Company 'Lonbo'
by Lyndsey Winship
January 29, 2004
-- The Place, London
Probably the most predictable thing
about Resolution! is its unpredictability. You read the choreographer's
blurb and think you might have an idea of what to expect, only to be confounded
by the performances themselves. 'Perfectly Valid,' the offering from Tight
Corner Dance Company, talked of an aural and visual experience -- exploring
group dynamics, identities, and the impact of architecture, fashion, and
culture. Interesting? I'm afraid not.
In contrast, In:House's 'Out of Body' sounded potentially embarrassing;
'awkward' and 'bizarre' movements were on the agenda, while 'alien sources'
would inspire an out of body experience. Thankfully, in reality, Caroline
Lofthouse's choreography was subtle, intriguing, and calmly hypnotic.
A trio of girls began making skew-whiff shapes, looking at their limbs
as if surprised and slightly dissatisfied. What to do with these unruly
extensions? Before they could work it out, a fourth dancer infiltrated
the group, adding vigour, like an unstable particle. The dancers were
forced in different directions, weaving in parallel lines like threads
in a loom. Each had her own style and motifs but they all shared a common
language, and danced, if not with passion, then with a clear focus. As
time passed their bodies could have been melting or mutating. Either way,
it was a metamorphosis that was very pleasing to the eye.
Finally, OKKO Dance Company and 'Lonbo.' On paper this was an exciting
proposition, a meeting of contemporary dance with West African tradition.
On stage, the two didnít really click. Dancer/choreographer Ernest Kwame
Obeng opened proceedings with a firm fist beating a hollow thud on a drum.
The drum was turned upside down to become a bowl, making an offering to
two large masks which hung like icons. At the front of the stage, another
sacred object was the focus of Obeng's dance and desires. Some of the
symbolic significances were lost, such as when Obeng began a duet with
a length of cloth tied to his belt -- better just to concentrate on the
There were some visceral images: huge swoops of muscular arms, sharp pulses
rocking through Obeng's torso, shoulder blades wriggling under his skin.
He sprung from the ground as if it were scorching earth, then bowed right
down to it. The contemporary influence served to interrupt the dance's
rhythmic flow but it didnít really add anything. The development seemed
arbitrary and the partner work awkward. Obeng's wide eyes inspired an
aura of fear and awe until a second dancer -- Afua Awuku -- appeared,
all smiles, and tipped the balance. This was not so much a fusion of styles
as a assortment of ideas, and while 'Lonbo' means 'to have knowledge,'
I couldn't help feeling we were none the wiser by the end of it.
This article was written
for Resolution! Review on the Place's website.† For more, click here:†Resolution!
Edited by Lori Ibay
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