Jealousy is the first dance work presented by The Print Room, a new venue in west London.
Using the theatre’s unusual space – a converted warehouse – four young choreographers and a sculpture installation, the work sets up elaborate systems. It creates some striking and atmospheric moments.
The evening is based on Alain Robbe-Grillet’s novel Jealousy, which describes a place and events from the point of view of a jealous husband. Laurence Kavanagh’s set/installation echoes Robbe-Grillet’s descriptions, with slatted Venetian blinds and a sense of a hot country. The audience is pressed around the walls of the warehouse, while dancers come and go through obsessive patterns.
The four choreographers take turns to explore the novel’s triangle of husband, wife and lover. Daniel Hay-Gordon, in a red shirt, choreographs a stretching, yearning solo for himself as the husband. Hubert Essakow’s section presents Katherine Cowie and Sonya Cullingford as twin aspects of the wife, in matching ponytails and petticoats. Their dances echo and overlap. The two women inhabit the same space, sometimes moving together, sometimes tugged by different impulses.
James Cousins creates a tense duet for the lover and wife, danced by Aaron Vickers and Katie Lusby. They sit side by side on Kavanagh’s dislocated chair sculptures, bending and folding themselves through obsessive patterns. Their eyes never meet: even when one stares straight at the other, there’s a sense that they’re looking past, not quite connecting. This is a relationship seen deliberately from the outside.
Morgann Runacre-Temple uses more of the space, bringing on dancers to the different corners of the square set. Sitting so close, you have to keep turning your head to see all the action, the performers isolated in the same room. In one sequence, Katie Lusby lies across Aaron Vickers’ lap, as he turns her over and over.
Kavanagh and his team are keen to evoke and replicate the Robbe-Grillet’s experiments, with programme notes full of explanations of the theory. It’s harder to translate those experiments into dance terms, for a fresh audience. The work clings to its own elaborate systems, going through a lot of patterns to make its points – just as it involves a large creative team in a short, small-scale work. With all its complications, Jealousy brings together rising artists and some vivid imagery. The four choreographers respond to the theme and the dancers with needy or alienated duets and solos.
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