The numbers are striking. Resolution!, The Place's annual season of new work, will show 93 companies in six weeks.
The numbers are striking. Resolution!, The Place's annual season of new work, will show 93 companies in six weeks. Most evenings show three new pieces. Now 16 years old, Resolution! is a platform for beginners, for talent-spotting. Some of the choreographers are taking their first steps; some are returning after work elsewhere. Later in the season, several European companies will make their London debuts.
I went to the season's second night and saw a characteristic mixture of styles and companies: pure dance, comedy with video screens, a number based around politics and spirituality.
The most assured piece was by a company making its Resolution! debut. Shedding Light, by Temitope Ajose-Cutting, is a dance for four women. It's a taut, well-shaped work, quiet and frantic by turns. The music, growling numbers by the bands Nun and Semple, provides atmosphere rather than structure. Keren Cornelius dresses the dancers in trousers and fluffy sweaters, stylised street clothes.
The dances are full of big, scooping steps and simple walks. The women show touches of insecurity or anger, turning furiously round on one another, before subsiding into calm. Dancing together, they look absorbed and attentive, climbing into shoulder stands or regrouping in lines. They move boldly and well, stalking about the stage. Ajose-Cutting shows a sense of pace and form. Her dancers hurl themselves about, but this is a disciplined dance. There is a nice contrast between the clear floor patterns and the tearing steps.
Chaturangan & Creative Dance Ltd are returning to Resolution!. Reach, choreographed by Kalithasan Chandrasegaram, has already had sold-out performances in Liverpool's Faith in One City celebration. It's a mix of classical Indian dance and a blurry sense of politics and spirituality. The piece opens with the jazz clarinettist Arun Ghosh, or rather with his long shadow cast on a screen. He sways as he plays, tilting and winding. Three women take up poses from classical Indian dance: legs clearly turned out, fingers fanned. They stamp or change position, but they don't dance full out: Chandrasegaram doesn't link the material. A dance for Darren Suarez is more mobile, with runs across the stage.
Reach trails off. Chandrasegaram creates an atmosphere but doesn't go anywhere with it. Toward the end of the piece, the rap poet Levi Tafari comes on to talk about the experience of immigrants in Britain. It makes the piece even less focused.
The Peach and the Pair, by Stepback, a new company, is slight and brisk. The piece starts with Van Eyck's Arnolfini marriage portrait, but that's really the hook for some joky video sequences. The painting is projected on to a video screen. Then we see Sarah Alexander and Hannah Talbot, their faces superimposed on the portrait, simpering and gawping, one as swaggering bridegroom, the other as naive bride. In between, Alexander and Talbot, now corseted, dance a series of jigs, parodies of Renaissance dances. They're joined by Simon Fowler, another Renaissance figure in fake beard and shiny red codpiece. It's very silly, but it keeps moving, and keeps the Place audience giggling.
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