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Scranridge. The Return - 'Must Try Harder'; U.T.P. - 'Temperamental'; Snap Dragon Dance - 'Chroma'

by Elizabeth Schwyzer

January 17, 2005 -- Robin Howard Theatre, The Place, London

At 26 minutes, Katherine Markee’s solo "Must Try Harder" was certainly trying. Heavily laden with images of exhaustion and hopelessness, depression and anxiety, it was peppered with phrases of comically determined posturing. She twitched and flailed with the inevitability of an unmedicated Tourettes sufferer, slapping at her own limbs in an attempt to pin them down, and often ended up crumpled on the floor. In sections it was bleak to the point of self-indulgence, but tended to redeem itself at the last moment with an observant gag: a burst of self-conscious sex kitten poses, a set of steps transformed into a human-sized snail shell.

Clad in uniform empire-waisted dresses, the five young women of U.T.P. darted past each other in what seemed at first to be a study on choral unison vs. rebellion. At times they appeared to inhabit an urban environment, standing pressed together on the tube or rushing through crowded streets. Later they bopped robotically from side to side like characters from a video arcade, baby doll smiles plastered across their girlish faces, lurid red fingernails stabbing into space. But disjointed phrases of leaps, lunges, and stilted partnering interrupted these tentative themes. Technically, "Temperamental" was overambitious for most of its young performers, who tended to grimace apologetically when they lost their footing or botched their timing.

Easily the most watch-able piece of the evening was Snap Dragon Dance’s "Chroma", based on the effects of colour on the psyche. For all its thematic simplicity and literal interpretation, Chroma stayed true to its aims and used each dancer’s skills wisely. Under a dim, blue light, dancers were isolated and inwardly focused, their gazes blank, their movements meditative and self-referential. A transition to green brought with it interaction and relationships, the six dancers dividing into three couples who struggled, snuggled, and broke apart. Orange light and sunglasses with coloured lenses ushered in playful competition; in black shirts, dancers were reduced to kneeling and performing repetitive tasks. Choreographer Christine Luby’s distinctive, lyrical blend of yoga and capoeira was most freely expressed in the final section, where the dancers luxuriated in unrestricted physicality.

Elizabeth Schwzyer'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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