Live Screen, Sadler's Wells, London <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Live Screen, an evening of film and performance chosen by Sacha Craddock and Emma Gladstone, is the first of an occasional series at Sadler's Wells. On screen, people dance and respond to dance, the camera moving as it records people or machinery. There's one live performance in front of a screen, and a table that allows you to move images of dancers, like puppets.

The films vary from minute-long shorts to the Burt Lancaster movie The Swimmer. Miranda Pennell's Magnetic North short cuts together images of young Finnish skaters with young men playing heavy metal in their bedrooms.

In Zoulikha Bouabedellah's Dansons, a woman (shot from waist to thigh) ties on red, white and blue scarves before belly-dancing to the French national anthem. There is a "yes, and?" quality to some of this work: you can see the point being made, but that's it.

This might also apply to Eva Meyer-Keller's Death is Certain, but the performance piece is at least funny. Meyer-Keller is an unexpected element in the evening: she makes no reference to screens, to films, to computer technology. Instead, she does awful things to cherries. She starts out with a neat table of household goods, puts on an apron and gets to work.

Some of the cherries meet their fate simply: squished, eaten, dropped into a cup of water. Then she makes a voodoo cherry out of Plasticine, and carefully sticks it with pins. Another is set afloat on a paper boat and violently capsized in a hairdryer gale. Meyer-Keller does with appalling Delia Smith efficiency, her apron smeared with cherry gore.

Rajyashree Ramamurthi made made one film and one live performance. In The Incomplete Autobiography, a girl dances as Ramamurthi remembers childhood incidents. Some combinations are sharp: as the girl swings her arms through Indian classical dance movements we hear the sound of a Star Wars light sabre.

In Avatar, Ramamurthi collaborates with animator Jeremy Radvan. Live on stage, she moves in front of a dark screen, while Radvan draws squiggles that are projected on to her body.

Her white dress shows the lines clearly; the squiggles linger like the movement in a blurred photograph. The collaboration is interesting, but though Ramamurthi moves elegantly, her dance is unfocused.

So many short works are hard to take in. Perhaps the next show, planned for November, could have shorter screenings, or easier movement from one auditorium to another.

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