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Hip: A Freedom of Expression

Celia Grannum, ‘Goodbye Saturn’, ‘Vespers 2’; Jeremiah Tateum, ‘Looking on Something Intimate’; Vena Ramphal, Jane Sekonya, ‘Spoti’ and others.

by Lyndsey Winship

March 12, 2004 -- Purcell Room, London

The Hip Festival aims to celebrate diversity in dance, and this programme was nothing if not diverse. Crossing continents and styles and subjects, from comedy to politics to pure movement, this was an entertaining reminder of the breadth of creativity in British dance.

One performer to watch is Celia Grannum, a great dancer and someone I’ll look forward to seeing plenty more of. She opens the show with her own solo, “Goodbye Saturn”. While the first half is spiked with edgy intensity and honest and inventive movement, it all starts to fade when she introduces text, video and precious sentiment.

However, Grannum excels in Rafael Bonachela’s “Vespers 2”. Originally a sextet, but tonight pared down to a trio, Vespers 2 is – as you would expect from the only real ‘name’ on the programme – a substantial piece of choreography. The three dancers move at an unstoppable pace, pounding out a forceful beat against a score of chattering voices. Their steps are severe but beautiful: full of straight-up vertical lines, great long limbs and obtuse angles.

Where Grannum’s sky-high legs give her a body to die for, Jeremiah Tateum’s sculpted six pack does the same – and he knows it. His solo, “Looking in on Something Intimate”, is an impassioned bedroom rumination on a sultry D’Angelo tune which shows off his scissoring kicks, super-quick chainees, elastic acrobatics and other tricks of the Fame-school ilk. It’s all engineered to make you fawn at his slick technique and perfect physique, especially when he stands on a chair and takes his trousers off. In fact, the whole thing is reminiscent of something else a young man might do alone in his room.

The remainder of the programme dips its toe into a myriad of choreographic waters. Vena Ramphal performs an Indian improvisation where tradition meets modernity, while Jane Sekonya's “Spoti” is a sweet and magical journey through one woman’s South African story. “Mystic Chant”, choreographed and performed by Bawren Tavaziva is a celebration of Rasta power, taking a warrior stance in the name of Jah, while Hip Festival founder, Brenda Edwards, engages in some eyebrow-raising antics, entwined with choreographer Noel Wallace. In other words, a real variety show – but in the best sense of the term.

Edited by Jeff

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