Dance: Those little ones really have to be watched

Jeremy James & Co

The Place, London

The Smallest Room

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea

The choice of choreographer Jeremy James to open the Spring Loaded season of new British dance raised eyebrows among some of my dance-critic colleagues. There are surely bigger names on the roster - like Phoenix and Random and the Richard Alston group, the sort of outfits that reliably fill the South Bank halls. Why lead the shoal with a minnow when you could have led with a whale?

You had only to look at Tuesday's audience for the answer. Dancers, scores of them. Jeremy James is an in-house secret, a specialists' specialist, the one they want to watch. Over the past 15 years, James himself has been a player in most of the A-teams. He started out classical, dancing what he calls "all the midget roles in ballet", then moved on to Rambert, Siobhan Davies, DV8. But now he's struck out on his own, and his style resembles nothing and no one. It's intricate and polished, yet it wears its craft so lightly that it wouldn't look amiss in a night club.

At The Place, he showed a triple bill whose titles left lots to the imagination. Juice is a trio for three women which starts in silence with a solo for Tammy Arjona, a tiny darting figure whose knee and hip joints seem to be attached differently from most people's. Arms behave like legs, walking the floor, or flung out like a shot-putter's; hips swing, swivel, and lurch out of true. More figures appear, their body parts weighted and heavy: heads loll on necks, joints cave in, gravity tugs. Yet much of this happens at bone-snapping speed.

What elevates it to dance rather than anatomical meltdown is the complex rhythmic groove James sets up within these moves, defying the need for any musical soundtrack. That's supplied in the spectator's head until finally a blast of heavy rock kicks in. By contrast Parts, James's new piece, enlists the composer Matteo Fargion and an abstract film to drive the dance along. But again, what starts simple builds to an impressive counterpoint, superbly controlled. Fargion's childish two-note motif grows into mad boogie-woogie, and bodies which at first swivel and tilt as if suspended by a single wire are soon toppling against each other, flexing themselves against the floor, or swinging like the clapper in a bell. The only trouble is, with performance as intricate and demanding as this, you really need to see it twice: once to get the measure of it, then immediately again to revel in its cleverness. I wonder if the Spring Loaded season would consider giving that a go?

The bathroom is a private place, better equipped for singing in than dancing, but The Smallest Room, a touring show adapted from a one-off Brighton Festival event, takes place on a stage set with two plumbed-in bathtubs and a giant freestanding shower. Exploring ideas of privacy and display, two brave and articulate dancers - Becky Edmunds and Charlie Morrissey - explore the full range of preening and cleansing rituals. Each begins naked in the tub, where their splashings and scrubbings combine with Barnaby O'Rorke's improvised cello (played, tongue in cheek I guess, as he perches on the edge of the bath in a towelling robe) by way of orchestration.

You might think hair-washing, toe-nail picking and drying-off gestures would make a meagre dance vocabulary, but in fact the longueurs in the piece occurred when the dancers strayed into neutral dance territory or forced dialogue. Soapside, the story was gripping. There was a nifty duet which looked like a speeded-up study of conjugal habits (who gets to sit by the taps? who keeps getting out and fiddling about and getting back in again? you got it, she does); and there were two fast and funny solos made up of all those things you do in front of mirrors when you think no one else is looking. Best of all there was a spectacular dervish routine under the giant shower, lit by glancing blue halogen beams, whirling a wide halo of spray like a rainbow. In all, a curiously cleansing experience.

: Winchester King Alfred's (01962 827 492), Tues; New Milton Forest Arts Centre (01425 612 393), Thurs. 'The Smallest Room': Manchester Green Room (0161 950 5900), Fri & Sat.

News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Reach for the sky: there are around 250 new buildings of 20-plus storeys planned for London alone, some 80 per cent of them residential
architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
television
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
filmReview: The ingenious film will intrigue, puzzle and trouble audiences by turns
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower