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 Post subject: Re: Resolution! 2004
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 107
Location: London, England
Tight Corner Dance Company / In:House / OKKO Dance Company
29 Jan 2004

Probably the most predictable thing about Resolution! is its unpredictability. You read the choreographer’s blurb and think you might have an idea of what to expect, only to be confounded by the performances themselves. ‘Perfectly Valid’, the offering from Tight Corner Dance Company, talked of an aural and visual experience, exploring group dynamics, identities and the impact of architecture, fashion and culture. Interesting? I’m afraid not.

In contrast, In:House’s ‘Out of Body’ sounded potentially embarrassing; ‘awkward’ and ‘bizarre’ movements were on the agenda, while ‘alien sources’ would inspire an out of body experience. Thankfully, in reality, Caroline Lofthouse’s choreography was subtle, intriguing and calmly hypnotic. A trio of girls began making skew-whiff shapes, looking at their limbs as if surprised, and slightly dissatisfied. What to do with these unruly extensions? Before they could work it out, a fourth dancer infiltrated the group, adding vigour, like an unstable particle. The dancers were forced in different directions, weaving in parallel lines like threads in a loom. Each had her own style and motifs but they all shared a common language, and danced, if not with passion, then with a clear focus. As time passed their bodies could have been melting or mutating. Either way, it was a metamorphosis that was very pleasing to the eye.

Finally, OKKO Dance Company and ‘Lonbo’. On paper this was an exciting proposition, a meeting of contemporary dance with West African tradition. On stage, the two didn’t really click. Dancer/choreographer Ernest Kwame Obeng opened proceedings with a firm fist beating a hollow thud on a drum. The drum was turned upside down to become a bowl, making an offering to two large masks which hung like icons. At the front of the stage, another sacred object was the focus of Obeng’s dance and desires. Some of the symbolic significances were lost, such as when Obeng began a duet with a length of cloth tied to his belt – better just to concentrate on the dancing.

There were some visceral images: huge swoops of muscular arms, sharp pulses rocking through Obeng’s torso, shoulder blades wriggling under his skin. He sprung from the ground as if it was scorching earth, then bowed right down to it. The contemporary influence served to interrupt the dance’s rhythmic flow but it didn’t really add anything. The development seemed arbitrary and the partner work awkward. Obeng’s wide eyes inspired an aura of fear and awe until a second dancer – Afua Awuku – appeared, all smiles, and tipped the balance.This was not so much a fusion of styles as a assortment of ideas, and while ‘Lonbo’ means ‘to have knowledge’, I couldn’t help feeling we were none the wiser by the end of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Resolution! 2004
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:36 am 
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Joined: Sat May 04, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 7
Location: London, UK
6 February 2004

Selfish Shellfish (Germany)
Dressed Dance
Choreographed and performed by Katja Wachter.

Dressed Dance was in part an exploration of the role clothes play in influencing or masking our personalities, and in part (according to the programme notes) a reaction to the proliferation of undressing in contemporary dance.

The piece opened with Katja Wachter, in black knickers and vest, swathed in metallic light and music, moving with precision through a dynamic stream of isolated yet elastic movement, grabbing at her clothes and body and revealing sections of skin. It then continued with a more theatrical mood, as Wachter moved about the stage putting on various clothes from plastic bags. As she added and disregarded items of clothing she took on different personalities and movement quirks, shifting between suspended movement, disjointed text, lashing arms and sweeping falls. Predictably, the music changed too, to reflect each mood. At one stage, whilst uttering what might have been excerpts of a phone conversation or a diary, Wachter put on three versions of the same top, identical but for the varying labels, notes and photographs that were attached.

The piece ended on a satirical note, as one by one, planted performers (many of whom were staff from The Place) rose from the audience and walked onto the stage, where they began to slowly remove items of clothing, as Wachter, seemingly unaware, continued to dance between them.

Katja Wachter’s exploration of the topic could have been deeper, but never-the-less Dressed Dance was an thoughtful, well-performed, and reasonably entertaining piece.

Erica Stanton and Dancers
Matter of Gravity
Directed and Choreographed by Srica Stanton
Choreographed and performed by Marina Collard, Fiona Edwards, Amanda Gough, Sonia Rafferty

Matter of Gravity presented a calm flow of movement and a cacophony of sounds. The piece explored falling, resulting in a constant, smooth stream of swinging, rocking and suspensions. The four female dancers largely seemed to be caught in their own individual stream of movement, coming together for seemingly chance moments of contact or unison. The work had some captivating moments of simple suspension and falling, in fact it was the simplest moments that were the most interesting.

A line up of experienced dancers can often help a Resolution work stand out from the rest. But, unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to make Matter of Gravity shine. The piece was performed well, but was generally bland.

Kate Brown
having begun
Choreography by Kate Brown
Dancers: Kate Brown, Kate Gower, Henry Montes, David Waring

‘having begun’ was a captivating exploration into the act of beginning.

The opening section looked like a moment within a rehearsal, with each of the four dancers sat around the stage absorbed in writing notes. We can’t be sure what they are writing, but a fair assumption would be that they were working out how to begin. One by one they got up and began a movement phrase. Then just as soon as they’d started, they stopped. This decision/failure/necessity to stop, having just begun, was reflected in the soundscore, which introduced various tunes and styles, only to silence them within seconds.

As the piece progressed so too did the level of movement. However, whilst the dancers were moving for longer, the movement was still constantly exploring the notion of the beginning. During one section the dancers travelled across the stage, and back again, through passing a chain of movements across the group, with one beginning starting another. During another, a series of lifts explored the moment when flight might begin. A particularly intriguing section played with starting at the wrong time, with amusing and clever results. The soundscore was as successful as the movement in building the concept. As the performance progressed, the disjointed stopping and starting of music become sounds, consumed by white noise, to produce strange, hypnotic tunes.

‘having begun’ took a simple concept and revealed its complexity through thoroughly considered choreography and superb performance.

<small>[ 16 February 2004, 01:23 AM: Message edited by: Vicki C ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Resolution! 2004
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:25 am 
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Joined: Sat May 04, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 7
Location: London, UK
13 February 2004

Lische
Lo spazio accessible

Choreographed and performed by: Christino Fabbri and Simone Magnani

Lo spazio accessible was a male duet, which attempted to explore “the rituality of the relationships between man, dancer and space”. This theme could be interpreted in almost an infinite number of ways – and it was.

The piece constantly shifted in its dynamic and expression. Fabbri and Magnani, in light coloured linen trousers and cotton tops, fought (with each other and fight-club style with the space around them), hugged, spoke, had fits, guided each other as a classical ballet male lead would the female, pointed, stared into space, twitched, gestured and performed sweeping kicks and travelling sequences. The music changed as frequently, and as abruptly as the movement. As did the dancers expressions – they appeared vulnerable, strong, curious, secretive, psychotic, puzzled or in pain.

Lo spazio accessible showed real potential through some fascinating moments of original choreography, and interplay between different movements or environments, and between humanity and abstraction. However, the piece was too long to survive with so little to hold the mass of material together, and unfortunately, as a result it, it became tedious.

Wired (Aerial Theatre)
Stuffed

Choreographed by: Wendy Hesketh
Performed by: Damian Smyth and Wendy Hesketh
Bungee climers (in wings): Jamie Ogilvie and Seth Allen

Upon reading that the theme of this piece was bulimia I have to admit I was sceptical – not an easy topic to cover without being over personal or clichéd. However, Stuffed was funny, touching, humble and original.

The audience entered the theatre to find on their seats a white A4 piece of paper with a single black painted tick on one side. These were used for an introductory, witty food psychology questionnaire, conducted by Damian Smyth, based on food that had been handed out on trays, in the bar, during the interval.

Wendy Hesketh made her entrance, attached to a bungee cord, by being ‘thrown up’ by a wheelie bin decorated to represent a toilet. Her solo, which made up the rest of the piece, oscillated between witty and tragic, with effective results.

She began by explaining her special relationship with the toilet, before moving into a seductive tango with her ‘special partner’. She then performed a lyrical solo, spinning over the top of the ‘toilet’, peering into it, being lowered into it, leaping over it and falling indulgently, then lifelessly, around it. The position of the bungee cord around her stomach, and its affect on her body at just the right moments, added an extra layer to the movement.

Stuffed was beautifully performed, witty and moving.

Max Barachini
Vulnerable: part two. light duets

Concept and choreography by: Max Barachini
Performed by: Max Barachini, Elisa Canessa, Hanna Moors and Emiliano Nigi

The piece opened with Barachini standing on stage, still and with his eyes closed. The house lights were up and the theatre was filled with grating, uncomfortable sound. Barachini began by shouting broken text before the sound stopped and the lighting shifted solely to the stage.

The first, slow duet, between Barachini and one of the female performers, contained some interesting moments, mainly due to both performers keeping their eyes closed throughout. The piece continued through a series of duets, and layers of various, irritating live and recorded sounds and text.

There were some interesting, and quite beautiful, moments in Vulnerable, but these were lost in a wash of slow paced, self-indulgence.


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 Post subject: Re: Resolution! 2004
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:51 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Many thanks to Vicky, Katie, Lyndsey and Thea for their excellent coverage of this crucially important festival of new dance. With 108 different companies, it must be one of the largest dance events worldwide.

Did anyone see the final night with the same artists as the opener, but featuring new work?


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