White Christmas, The Place, London
Thursday 01 December 2005
Studio theatres are usually painted black - absorbing light, helping to conceal scenery changes from an audience sitting very close. This year, the specialist dance theatre The Place celebrates Christmas by repainting its stage area, making a bright white box. Over the next fortnight, 37 choreographers will show short (often new) works in this shiny white setting. Inevitably, quality varies. The first night was a very mixed bag; upcoming names include choreographers Richard Alston, Siobhan Davies, Shobana Jeyasingh.
Painted white, the stage seems twice the size, and it looks terrific - best of all in the opening work by Kim Brandstrup, a dance to a Handel aria, lit by hundreds of candles. Those banks of naked flames probably explain the first-night fire alarm, but they cast a soft glow over this mournful solo for the Royal Ballet's Zenaida Yanowsky.
In recent years, Brandstrup has developed a new style, psychological dramas in short solos or duets. His piece for Yanowsky is one example. The new duet Theme and Inversion, also on this programme, is another. Natalia Thorn and Gildas Diquero lean against the wall, some distance apart. She reaches out to him; when her fingers touch him, she gives him a push. As a waltz theme cuts into the piano soundtrack, they sweep into couple dances - but Thorn leads Diquero, spinning or dipping him. The dynamic between this couple keeps changing, the dancers soft or wary.
Laila Diallo's Between the Shingle and the Dune, which she dances with Theo Clinkard, is another relationship duet. The dancers lie in a square patch of light - this could be a lazy Sunday - then move away from each other, snuggle close, drift apart. It's clearly danced, and Diallo establishes moods, but this piece would be tauter if it were edited down.
This first White Christmas show mixes the accomplished and the dreary. Several dances are much too long. Frederick Opoku-Addaie has a group of lively dancers, but he keeps stopping to harangue the audience or his cast. Hofesh Shechter's Untitled also addresses its audience. As the elegant Elizabetta d'Aloia goes through Shechter's stretches, the choreographer drones on the soundtrack. "This is the first part of the piece. It is about love." At last d'Aloia walks offstage, leaving Shechter plaintively asking her to return. It's a clunky idea, stretched over 11 minutes.
To 17 December (020-7387 0031)
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
- 4 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
- 5 Google search history can now be downloaded in its entirety, mass embarrassment expected
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Star Wars 7: George Lucas admits he hasn't seen The Force Awakens trailer
Star Wars: Rogue One trailer: Watch the teaser for the Jedi-less Death Star heist film
Avengers Age of Ultron 'after credits' scene leaks online days before cinema release
Groundhog Day musical to premiere at Old Vic from Matilda theatre director
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate