Resolution! 2011 at The
Place – 8 Feb
By Katherine Christie Evans
The Resolution! season at The Place is like pick 'n' mix: always full of surprises, with each evening featuring a different triple bill.
The night opened with Remote Control by physical theatre company Tangled Feet. Interplay between dancers, light projections and music is used to explore a theme of control: dancers’ bodies struggle within footage of a riot scene, electronic static suggests domination by an external force, and squares of light are either menacing cages or safe havens. Moments like these when the mediums come together succinctly see the piece at its most successful. Yet at 25 minutes long, perhaps Remote Control is itself in need of some curtailing.
Daniel Elliott’s study After Dark is a heartfelt and tender exploration of the notion of safety in relationships. A sparse stage with no props, and six dancers in white underwear, allows for intimacy between the dancers, the choreography and the audience. We see three couples engaged in communion: a man and woman, two men, and two women. In highly articulated, slow gestures the couples embrace, explore bare skin, or support each other’s weight as an expression of intimacy. Concurrently we also hear telephone voicemail recordings which document various moments in relationships (also suggesting the ubiquitous presence of technology in our lives). A heterosexual love story is telescoped through a series of messages, from its hopeful beginnings to eventual disappointment. The sculptural choreography and soundtrack poignantly capture the fragility, joy and grief implicit in all relationships. This subtle and reflective piece left me with beautiful and honest insights into what it is to be human.
The final instalment of the evening comes from choreographer Christina Brøndsholm Andersen, in a piece performed by NORD Dance. Traces begins with the haunting image of a girl traversing the stage in slow-motion, with intense focus and purpose. Her hypnotic progress is overlaid with stark electronic music, as she makes her way inexorably towards a cold source of light. The atmosphere is glacial and disturbing. She seems trapped in a pattern, and is locked in isolation. This sense of private worlds is heightened when she is joined by two other female dancers. All three sit in stark spotlights, muttering inaudibly to themselves and not interacting. The dancers one by one put on the white shirts which have up to this point been hanging ominously high from the ceiling. The girls’ movements become larger, freer, more energetic. There are echoes of the Rite of Spring as one girl dances herself into ecstasy, all the while accompanied by a sense of foreboding as each character remains isolated in their rapture and idiosyncratic motions. This new-found emotion crumbles and we return in the end to the opening tableau; the girl enslaved once more to her joyless, encumbered journey towards the light. The most abstract piece of the evening, Traces is both atmospheric and disturbing.
An evening at The Place left me feeling satisfied by a substantial and varied body of work. The Resolution! season in full showcases 102 new dance works so there is chance aplenty to catch something fresh and unexpected.