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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2005
Ashley Page, Curve Foundation, Rosie Kay Dance Company
by Lea Marshall
August 11, 2005 -- Dance Base, Edinburgh, London
While all five works performed
in last night's triple-bill at Dance Base featured polished dancing and
engaging choreography, Ashley Page's “Refurbished Behaviour” and Rosie
Kay's “Asylum,” both focusing on the nature of relationships, stood out
for their fierceness.
In the duet “Refurbished Behaviour,” Page's couple, danced by the Scottish
Ballet's Diana Loosmore and Jarkko Lehmus, enmeshed themselves in a web
of dark sensuality, sometimes playful, sometimes approaching violent.
As the piece opened, Loosmore dragged a small chair onstage, which served
as an occasional resting place or as an object of contention, as the mood
of the piece demanded. The use of the chair was not integrated enough
into the choreography, however, to justify Page's description of the piece
as a “trio for two dancers and a chair.”
Through intense expressions and achingly sexy partnering sequences set
to music by Louis Andriessen and Wir, Loosmore and Lehmus conjured up
that adversarial atmosphere particular to stories of sexual conquest and
obsession. Both players jockey for position, for superiority, which can
be achieved variously through acquiescence, pursuit, or withholding of
favours. Lehmus maintained a mesmerising intensity as he shifted between
domination of Loosmore (being in thrall to her), and resenting her power
over him (which she plainly enjoyed). During lifts, each dancer curled
effortlessly through the space of the other, while some moments of pure
unison dancing, and one or two moments stretched flat on the floor, apart,
gave both dancers and audience a bit of breathing room.
Rosie Kay and Guillherme Miotto, burdened with plastic shopping bags,
struggled wildly—first with each other, and then with themselves-- in
Kay's “Asylum.” At the start, Kay clasped Miotto from behind, pinning
his arms to his sides, and refused to let go of him, even as he writhed
in and out of her hold. She piled more and more shopping bags (hmm…baggage?)
onto him, until at last she looped the handle of a giant duffle bag into
his right hand, and climbed in the bag herself. A shift in the sound score
(by Ian Wallman) seemed to startle both dancers, and sent them into a
nervous, twitchy series of movements which escalated into the two wildly
flinging themselves onto the floor, oblivious of restraint, of pain, of
each other--the asylum of the title nowhere in sight. Both dancers were
ferociously committed to the movement, to the truth and immediacy of their
experience and, by extension, to that of the audience as well.
Curve Foundation opened the program with two solos. “CervaNtes,” choreographed
by Ana Lujan Sanchez and performed in silence by Christophe Carpentier,
worked well as a study of technique--a series of side lunges, sustained
developpes, and some striking descents into the floor on the tops of his
feet gave Carpentier a chance to exercise strength, control, and focus.
By contrast, Savalliana, choreographed by Rui Lopes Graca, showcased dancer
Soraya Ham's beauty, long lines, and sure, deliberate shaping of movement.
The work's crafted grace and Ham's pleasing dignity were complemented
by a lush violin score by Francesco Auxerro.
Also on the program was Ashley Page's “Acrid Avid Jam,” which gave us
another look at dancers Lehmus and Loosmore, this time with a softer focus—sensual,
but relaxed into the rhythm of Aphex Twin's music, which seemed to propel
the dancers into long sequences of smooth, organic dancing, characterized
by suspensions, gliding lifts, and soft landings.
All in all, this Dance Base programme is a must-see for contemporary dance lovers at the Fringe.
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