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Sinman Dance Company - 'The Right Mistakes'; Neon Productions - 'Talking Feather'; 'Distance is a Virtue'

by Elizabeth Schwyzer

January 21, 2005 -- Robin Howard Theatre, The Place, London

Every night at Resolution is a mixed bag, but last night’s selection was particularly wide-ranging. "Talking Feather", a contemporary take on traditional Chinese dance, may have gone over better in a different context; as part of a contemporary dance festival, it was painfully sentimental and unsophisticated. Its four dancers alternated between gazing with rapture at their twitching hands and unfurling arms, and landing their leaps on wooden legs.

Slightly more watchable, "Distance is a Virtue" was a chillingly vacant, gestural duet set against a backdrop of video images and percussion-led nerd rock. Band members and dancers alike were a little too caught up in their own process to notice their audience sufficiently, and at times the musicians were the most dynamic thing on stage. In a more satisfying moment of angst, the dancers stood back to back, directing their frustration with one another into empty space, accompanied by the amplified screech of electric guitars. Ultimately though, both music and projection served as a distraction to the already spare choreography.

Of course, both pieces were at a disadvantage for following the first Aerowaves performance of the season. Ox, a Slovenian couple with impressive performing credentials, opened the evening with an autobiographical duet chronicling their love affair, from giddy wooing to tense competition. "The Right Mistakes" was ruthlessly self-referential, even self-congratulatory, presenting the performers’ bodies, stories, and personalities for public approval. Not many could have made a piece like this so palatable, but the lusciously electric Gabrielle Nankivell alone was such a bewitching stage presence, she smoothed the piece’s rougher edges. Beginning with an unnecessarily hyperactive blast of chaos, the piece soon settled into its own quirky, uneven rhythm—much as a new relationship blasts off in a passionate frenzy before reconnecting with solid ground. Konjar and Nankivell played, fought, and teased, dressed and undressed, shared a picnic, yelled, sulked and made up. It may sound distasteful, but they were so utterly and hopelessly enamoured with themselves, the audience couldn’t help but fall in love along with them. Such an overt display of technical prowess, flawless physiques, real-life romance and general bourgeois-bohemian well-being may have turned a few stomachs—but only those of the bilious.

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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