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Adi Salant - 'Shakuf'; Solar Salt - 'Something Missing ... ?'; Maria Ghoumrassi -'Pestle and Mortar'

by Elizabeth Schwyzer

January 22, 2005 -- Robin Howard Theatre, The Place, London

Scantily clad in black hot-pants, a corset and fishnets, and wearing a deadpan expression, choreographer Adi Salant opened "Shakuf" with an explosion of athletic balleticism. Hers was a masterful execution of delightful movement vocabulary, pleasingly balanced between the ridiculous and the sublime. She played delicately with audience expectations, sometimes falling or flying off stage without warning. When in a moment of stillness she was joined by a male dancer dressed in the same get-up, the collective intake of breath was audible. When he flexed his muscles Charles Atlas-style, the moment was perfectly completed. In delicious unison the unlikely couple strutted like supermodels, waddled like ducks, wiggled and snapped elastically. I wasn’t ready to see them go.

Solar Salt got off to a promising start with "Something Missing…?", a trio exploring public and private identity, personal and shared conflict. With efficient, snappy contact work and committed physicality, they quickly established convincingly manipulative relationships. Tightly rehearsed dancing gave way gracefully to moments of stillness, fruitfully accompanied by background film and an ironically schmaltzy soundtrack. But halfway through the piece lost the plot, indulging in unnecessary re-hashing of the same themes using spoken word and a tumult of technical devices and effects. Dancing was limited to short bursts of manic panic, in between which the performers became walking, talking zombies. The piece finished with anticlimactic ambiguity—something was definitely missing.

If "Something Missing…?" left us with a craving for some no-holds-barred dancing, "Pestle and Mortar" hit the spot with exuberant stomps, leaps and undulations, not to mention ululations. A loosely narrative piece about a community of six women, it featured rhythmic breathing, stick-pounding, and generally passionate dance, both in its celebratory passages and its darker sections. The highlight of the piece was a duet between an isolated, distressed girl and a wonderfully maternal female figure, who enveloped and quelled her companion’s grief as she rocked her with steady arms.

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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