Dances in Resolution! are often made on a shoestring, but tonight’s opener, Artism, has some impressive production values. This is a multimedia melée where the scene expands from a silent solo in a blank space to a swirling swarm of animated lines across three video walls, with projections chasing four dancers and their quick, strong movements. Ultimately the choreography becomes swamped by the technology, choreographer Eric Nyira’s intention to ‘confront the human condition’ is probably overstated, and the onscreen quotes (sample: ‘I’m a permanent feeling in a perpetual present’) are a tad pretentious. But there are some brilliantly skilled collaborators here and a clear desire to present dance in a new dimension. One to watch.
Julie Schmidt Andreasen’s Hula Hoops, by contrast, is utter simplicity. And utterly charming for it. Three dancers in white shirts and chinos; a very conscious, unconvoluted language; and the sort of invisible logic that’s very pleasing to the eye. At the climax of the piece it’s clear what’s invisible, as the dancers’ bodies undulate in hula hooping motions, swinging imaginary rings. It’s all so appealing that the voiceover, describing the dancers’ daily routines, is probably unnecessary. Most engaging is dancer Manuela Sarcone, her face an expression of joy. It’s a delight to be in her company.
Finally, we find onstage a hulking scaffold and perched upon it, a petite blonde in pointe shoes. As a teenage dance student Suzie Birchwood was diagnosed with dystonia, a movement disorder that left her in a wheelchair, and this piece is her response. It’s not a self- pitying performance. There may be frustrated longing in Birchwood’s reaching arm gestures, but there’s also dignity and grace in her carefully placed movements. She’s joined by a pair of acrobatic male dancers who are, in turn, her shadow and her support. And as she hangs from the bars and weaves herself into upside-down splits, you have to see the body anew and marvel at the strength in this tiny dancer.
From flashing lights to twirling round scaffolding three very different works are shown in tonight’s triple bill. Eric Nyira/Exzeb Dance causes goose bumps to rise across my skin when a video recaps the events of Artism Act I, performed last year at Resolution! 2013. A booming voice, echoing in surround sound, confronts the fact that dancers are there to be watched, but they are people too. Specks, waves and different shapes of light swim across the black walls and floor. The spectacular lighting display distracts from the power of the explosive choreography by Nyira, however, David Gellura spins and floats on top of a cloudlike projection with a similar elegance to Russell Maliphant in Afterlight.
Following Artism, Julie Schmidt Andreasen and Ehud Freedman present Hula Hoops, a playful trio that could have been a duet, with dancers often being left out of the fun. Disappointed by the lack of an actual hula-hoop the three dancers engage with an imaginary hoop, gyrating their hips and nodding their heads. The invisible hoop passes between them, circling round different parts of their bodies. This comical ending comes after a series of quirky and refreshingly simple moves, and finding out that Manuela Sarcone smokes a lot.
Arc Dance presents the life of Suzie Birchwood, who choreographed and performs in Conversations with Dystonia. She lays out the struggles that she faces living with dystonia, a condition that left her as a wheelchair user at the age of 17. Tyrone Herlihy contorts his body around the tall, triangular scaffolding, hanging upside down with just his leg wrapping around the top bar. An emotive piece of performance art; even involving the live musician. Nao Masuda bashes out notes on the keyboard with her bare leg. The performance stuns the audience into silence, not knowing whether to clap or cry as the dancers, who are clearly reeling from the emotional rollercoaster that the piece takes them on, bow.