Interact

25 February 2017
Author: Siobhan Murphy & Maria Hardcastle

Fri 24 Feb: dot.Consla and Sarita's Dance Lab/Salah El Brogy Company/House of Absolute

Dot.Consla & Sarita’s Dance Lab Glimpses

Salah El Brogy Company Letting Go

House of Absolute Warrior Queens

Dance fusion permeates the penultimate triple bill of Resolution and showcases how contemporary dance embraces all cultures and genres to elevate choreography. The sensual Latin dance style of Brazilian Zouk is questioned and fragmented in Dorottya Ujszaszi and Sarita Piotrowski’s Glimpses. The duo interrogates the traditional partner dance with an exploration of duality and independence. Their initial efforts to forge a peaceful partnership are ruined as a savage duet breaks out. The state of their relationship sporadically flickers throughout the piece – aggression, flirtation, coyness, playfulness, and desperation are all experienced. The strong purpose of the work unravels in its closing moments with a private glimpse into their choreographic process as they sketch and create material together. Although an effective device, it seems alien to the otherwise accomplished piece.

A personal and eclectic tale of grief is described by Egyptian choreographer, Salah El Brogy, in his solo performance, Letting Go. At times he dons a djellaba and headscarf to transform into a dying man. He moves through the motions of death with sharp gasps and sudden collapses. The piece develops into a childhood memory which inspires the intriguing examination of an infant’s behaviour. This enthralling action is laced with outstanding virtuosity as he blends capoeira fighting movement with his own contorted dance style. El Brogy’s sophisticated choreography finds a natural point of balance between unnerving and poignant.

House of Absolute form their own tribal culture in the ritualistic dance, Warrior Queens. Seven fierce women are possessed by furious clawing hands and contorted torsos. Dynamic hip-hop qualities and distinctive Waacking arm movements are subtly and skilfully blended with contemporary dance to create a primal language. A cloak is used to distort the human form as it conceals parts of the dancers’ bodies and is pulled into twisted shapes. Anticipation boils up with the raw power of the work but is disappointingly let down by the absence of any climactic moment.

Maria Hardcastle


Latin dance moves vie with pulsing masculine and feminine energies in Glimpses, an enigmatic duet from dot.Consla & Sarita’s Dance Lab. Sarita Piotrowski, who dances Brazilian zouk, stretches and poses, gently flirtatious, as though in dialogue with a suitor; her movements slowly become increasingly sexual. Dorottya Ujszaszi, a contemporary and salsa dancer, joins her – there’s a hum of anxiety as their encounter veers into violence, which becomes explicit in a segment where Piotrowski transforms into something like a malevolent spirit, aggressively manipulating Ujszaszi. Then their nebulous relationship morphs again; they move into partner dancing, with fluid zouk dips and fast turn patterns, which then becomes competitive. A sharper resolution might have been nice, but it’s intriguing nonetheless.

The Egyptian performer Salah El Brogy offers a deeply personal perspective on grief in Letting Go, a meditation on the loss of his father. He has worked with Akram Khan, and you can see the influences; he addresses us directly and his dancing is gymnastic, with flowing, swinging legs and a lot of work on the ground. El Brogy uses a djellaba and headscarf as a representation of and connection to his father: he wears them and becomes his parent; he arranges them as though they were his father, lifting them tenderly. A repeated segment where he becomes a small boy, guarded and guided by his dad, is affecting, as is his message, about love and acceptance. The creeping silhouetted figure behind a screen is rather unsettling, though.

House of Absolute‘s Warrior Queens (performed at Breakin’ Convention last year) takes street dance into Game of Thrones territory as four women warriors and Lula Mebrahtu’s “high priestess” in mimu musical gloves witness the “birth” of two new members of their tribe. It’s strongly ritualistic, combining tough tribal poses with waacking, and has a striking central image of the two new warriors emerging as though from their cocoon – but it doesn’t build on these as much as you might have hoped.

Siobhan Murphy

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