It's a wildly diverse evening at Resolution tonight. Drishti Dance's Antaraal conjures up the feel of a balmy summer, heat trapped in the haze, with a glowing yellow backdrop and a trio of kathak dancers meltingly soft in their movements. There's nice use of the patterns and permutations of the three dancers, but the strength of the piece is also its weakness in a way, the soft grace lacking a bit of bite. Antaraal means 'suspension' and the most arresting moments take that literally: the three dancers almost still, just swaying very gently; or statuesque in carved poses.
Bridget Lappin gives an impressively confident performance in the self-choreographed solo The Art of Exposure. Darkness, shadows and disguises are the theme, the cloak of femininity in particular. The black-clad Lappin appears, stealthily crawling the stage. She transforms herself with a showgirl wiggle, before retreating back into anonymity. She sheds a skin, stripping to a catsuit, ups the tempo and dances like nobody's watching, balancing on the cool/nerd divide, whip-cracking accents interrupting her body's free flow. She teases with the reveal of a naked shoulder, then: blackout. As befits the shadowy theme, there's obfuscation here, but at the same time a very clear character and strong presence.
Laura Obiols's Hourglass is a 20-minute piece full of ideas and ambition that you could easily imagine being expanded into a longer work. It's the growing-up story of Lilly, who we first encounter aged eight, and then entering adulthood with all its possibilities and pressures. We see Lilly lifted and buffeted by all the players in her life, pulled in a million directions; we see her father, bombarded with demands, and his lolling body physically folding under the pressure. Friendships, lovers, dreams, work, family – there's a lot hinted at here that can't be fully explored, but the soundtrack of voiceovers works to steer the narrative. A refreshingly real-world work with a lot of potential.
Tonight’s Resolution was a study in bridging gaps between choreographic intention and audience interpretation. Narrative dance, like Laura Obiol’s Hourglass, can find itself claustrophobically tangled in the density of events it tries to portray. More abstract explorations of broad themes, like Bridget Lappin’s The Art of Exposure, can become opaque enough to turn into an argument with or challenge to the audience (although in Lappin’s case, this is used to powerful effect).
Nowhere is the gap more obvious than Antaraal, a joyful, earnest work of contemporary Kathak that seems to have nothing to do with its programme note. Purportedly about ‘temporal suspension’ that ‘puts […] the onward thrust of the movement on hold’, it instead describes shivering dissipation of energy and bursts of vigour that fall softly away. Delicate tremors in wrists and ankles on stilled bodies bracket tense phrases of sweeping limbs. Anuradha Chaturvedi is a particularly warm performer and Antaraal has its charms, but, like the poem that was recited throughout, its actual intent is rather lost.
The Art of Exposure opens with Lappin, dressed as a ninja, standing in the darkness for a defiantly long time, and transitions from martial arts-inspired baiting to an exhilarating, body-popping bedroom dance. Lappin teases the audience by suggesting she might undress, then vanishes into the dark. The dance equivalent of a rhetorical question – open-ended, provocative and somewhat artificial – The Art of Exposure is brave but overstretched.
By contrast, Hourglass is cramped and overflowing with superfluous elements. Following a girl named Lilly through an early portion of her life – childhood, gap year, first serious relationship – it has voiceovers telling a story, dancers essentially miming to words and live musicians doing very little. The performers are excellent but hampered by the overpacked production. James Finnemore’s fluid, melancholy solo as Lilly’s father is a highlight, as is Léa Tirabasso’s magnetic, assured Lilly, but Hourglass is ultimately an eagle in a budgie’s cage. There’s potential here, but it needs more time, more space and more clarity.