Dance: New Year's Resolution

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Indy Lifestyle Online
A night out at a Resolution triple-bill can be a hit-or- miss affair, but there's a good chance you could spot a rising talent

For the past eight years, London's Place Theatre has laid on a special season for untried choreographers and despite the variable quality of some of the work, the theatre's director, John Ashford, has not lost his enthusiasm. ``Quite a lot of stuff is crap, but that's the idea really: it's quite deliberately an open platform. It has now refined itself as a nightly changing season of triple bills - so, if two things are crap, the third thing might be all right."

The Resolution season now divides into total newcomers (First Footing), second timers making a comeback in Evolution, commissions (specific works from promising artists, made possible by a National Lottery Arts for Everyone Award) and Aerowaves (imports from 26 European countries).

"It's more than possible you'll see a great work. Each evening I'm likely to see something I might have a lot to do with in the future.'' This isn't just optimism on Ashford's part; Resolution has provided opportunities for some leading young contemporary choreographers: ``This is where most people first saw Mark Baldwin, Wayne MacGregor, and Mark Murphy.''

This year, the ratio of good work to bad is likely to be considerably lower as the number of tyro choreographers fighting for space in the schedule has exceeded the slots available. John Ashford has had to reject a staggering 88 applications - no easy task when choosing between works that only exist on paper. How does he decide? Pedigree plays a big part.

"I have to decide on the basis of the choreographer, the dancers, the teachers. If it's going to be five people who all graduated from the same dance school a year ago, it's likely to be less interesting than five people who don't know each other who've been around a bit."

Once he has made his selection he has to collate the triple-bills so that the three works balance each other. Unfortunately, the choreographer's description doesn't always tell the full story: "We once had a whole grisly evening about domestic violence - none of them had declared this in their applications.''

The Place Theatre, London WC1 (0171-387 0031) to 21 Feb

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