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Nikki & JD  Le Lien

.2Dot  Queen and Queer

Companyia AGITART  Dust

For two such muscularly strong performers, Nikki Rummer and Jean-Daniel Brousse convey an aching vulnerability. They discuss their relationship, confessional and personal, up- close to the audience: le Lien (the invisible chord of connection between them) and other delights that their affair offered. But also a gaping discord and ultimately its failure. They peel of their heavy knit, chunky jumpers to physically enact this complex liaison through the most alarming athletic balances and lifts. Postures which display peak athletic condition, a training in circus skills and unwavering trust astound the audience. However it’s the metaphors conveyed in snap shot format that dig deep into the guts. Le Lien finishes once again with the performers enveloped in protective sweaters self- consciously revealing their insecurities. Le Lien is breath- taking in every way.

Embracing polymorphous sexualities, Manny Queen promises much in Queen and Queer. Accosting us with her diva strutting and an array of wigs, she lip- syncs to a flat computerised voice, reading out lists of words and fragments of speeches that relate to the LGBT community. Behind her lie a pile of dismembered mannequins discarded like Kokoschka dolls; and the naked body of Theo Pendle. While she is all artifice and jerky techno dance moves, he is all natural and still. In spite of some fascinating imagery and her forceful physical and spoken rants, the piece doesn’t develop. I feel lost and stranded. Rather than reinforcing trans- gender identity, .2Dot reduces it to an unexciting, bewildering list of options.

The dancers of Companyia AGITART squirm along the floor in a messy knot of bodies. Occasionally they pause and look around, like wary animals through the sombre lighting and smoke. Surfing over each other in soiled clothing, they are primeval creatures that emerge from the ancient earth. But they have a plan and they rise gradually and separate from their tight community. Highly effective team work, lunges and dives scatter them apart and bring them back together. Dust is a well- developed piece which explores human bonding in ever-changing landscapes.

Josephine Leask


 

“Muscular” would be one way to describe Le Lien, a duet merging acrobatics and a sinewy choreographic play of touching, pulling and giving weight in often spectacular quasi-circus fashion. In the most promising piece I’ve seen at Resolution this year, Nikki & JD achieve a remarkable balance between the thrills of acrobatics and the intimacy of (dance-) theatre. The virtuosic aspects of the performance are underscored by a number of dialogues and tirades, in which the two performers speak in simple terms of their working relationship. These scenes contain the emotional core of the piece, and the odd, superfluous choreographic aerial and occasional mugging for laughs do little to detract from the authenticity of what really drives the work: a touching relationship staged with elegance and sensitivity.

Queen and Queer kicks off in a striking manner: an assortment of dismembered mannequins and a naked, inert man await us onstage as we enter the auditorium; before long, Manny Queen, in full drag, parades onto the stage and begins to lip-sync to what seems like the start of a premise. But as she struts her way through wigs, pouting, posing and shaving, meaning becomes lost. I wanted to be offended, amused or intrigued, but I wasn't sure how.

In Dust, four dancers in a pile slowly begin to writhe and undulate in a sequence that goes almost uninterrupted for twenty minutes. This mish-mash of occasionally percussive choreoraphy probably finds it roots somewhere between flying low and Hofesh Shechter, which influences both serve and defeat the work. It helps that the choreography feels seamless, and it serves a structural whole; it's a problem that the language feels too easy, i.e. of the kind you'd almost find in a dance technique class. All of which ultimately gives the impression that any work of pure movement dreads: the dull sensation of watching algorithmic dance, a musical screensaver that moves fluidly but without identity.

Mary Clipperton

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