Resolution! The Place London <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Newness and opportunity are the idea of Resolution!, the Place theatre's platform for young companies, now in its 17th season. Many of these dancers and choreographers are making their professional debuts: Wayne McGregor and Russell Maliphant are among the established British artists who started out at Resolution!. At weekends, there are artists from overseas, just starting to show their work abroad.

All in all, the six-week season is a lucky dip, with a new bill every night. It's popular, with an audience of dance students, friends and eager enthusiasts. I saw the sold-out second night, when people were being turned away from the box office.

For Better, For Worse..., by Helix Dance, is a relationship duet. Isobel Cohen and John Thompson start standing against wooden cut-outs of themselves, stiffly hand-in-hand. They move their wooden images about the stage, falling out and making up. Cohen's sharply written speeches include sighs about the girlfriend's body temperature ("arctic"), snaps about what china gets used when. Silences are contented or reproachful. The other argument is between the performers, who correct each other's lines and disagree about cues.

Cohen and Mortimer are lively performers, good at leaving things half-said. Their subject matter isn't innovative, but their precision makes it distinctive and appealing. Words dominate the first half, with dance steps as illustration. The final duet is given a smooth, weighted performance.

There's a lot of talking: contemporary dance is currently full of words and drama. There are more speeches in Hear Me In, by Lunacy Nicked. Three women dance and strut through sketches, scenes in a bar, a bedroom and a theatre. There's some attack to the dancing, especially from Nikki O'Hara, but the scenes are weakly characterised, with thin choreography and wobbly narrative.

Grain, by Slapdash, has live music and no words. Four performers - a violinist, a double-bass player and two dancers - stand at the corners of the stage. They play or dance in response to each other, exchanging long glances, waiting for the next cue. As they move inwards, heading for the centre of the stage, the exchange gets faster, more tightly packed. Grain is an inconclusive dance, but it shows a sense of dance texture, and of stage space.

To 18 February (020-7387 0031)

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