Resolution!, The Place, London
The funny side of naked ambition
Tuesday 11 January 2011
Resolution! is a new year's look to the future, a lucky dip of new choreography. Held by the Place each year, it's the world's biggest platform for new dance. Over the next six weeks, the theatre will show 102 new works.
They're all by choreographers near the start of their careers. Anyone can apply to appear, though there is some selection in choosing the programme. On the first night, the programme ranged from an earnest solo with chairs to politicised comedy nudity.
In fact, there were two doses of naked politics. Janina Rajakangas's Striptease is a backwards burlesque: three women putting their clothes back on. Rummaging through piles of clothing, they find and swing socks, purring and sighing. Once dressed, they're still pretending to be nude, with drawn-on breasts and fake-fur pubic hair.
Between bouts of unstripping, they pose and dance to Andy Williams songs. Running around in a group, they could be a girl band or an aggressive pack. Then each returns to her pile of clothes, ready to writhe into more costumed nudity. It's a quirky, funny piece, a cheery opening to this year's season.
Susana Amarante Duarte's Finding Anna is weaker. Dancer Isabelle Ollé drifts between chairs, shuffling and swaying. Damien Elcock's music is full of muted humming sounds, broken up by clicks. Duarte's theme is memory, but she doesn't put it across in this generic solo.
Tame Game was the hit of the evening. Created by BLOOM!, a collective based in London and Budapest, it was choreographed and performed by Csaba Molnár, Moreno Solinas and Igor Urzelai. The three men try to manage and monitor the world around them: the whole dance is organised by flipchart. Their attempts to impose patterns keep coming unstuck: even a group hug turns into a scuffling argument.
In a section called "The Gallery", a soloist very soberly moons the audience, holding a picture frame in front of his naked bottom. He's organising what we see – which doesn't stop him annoying one of the other dancers. In another scene, two men use chalk lines to divide the stage in half. The third keeps dancing, prowling around the outlined space. As his colleagues draw more lines, dividing the space into smaller and smaller boxes, he's left trying to move in a tiny patch of stage.
In the funniest sequence, one man dances naked while another, armed with a board, tries to keep things decent. When the naked man has his back to the audience, he's left alone. The second he turns round, his censor rushes in to cover his groin. As the dance gets faster, with jumps and deep pliés, the censor's job becomes frantically difficult. At last, furious, he gives up and just hits the dancer with the board instead.
It's a focused, witty performance, completely confident in its comic timing and its characterisation. Resolution! is a place for fresh starts: some of its experiments will fail, some will work. BLOOM! look as though they're going places.
To 18 February (020 7121 1100)
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