Three different perspectives of the human condition were put under the microscope in last night’s Resolution. The evening commenced with the societal desire for change and resolve in Laura Ganotis’s Revolution Opera. The trio of dancers performed a gratifying movement style, fusing sharp and smooth qualities whilst preserving an awareness of humanity. Moments of stillness punctuated the work, which although creating lulls in action, were still engaging due to the dancers’ strong presence. Distinct indications of a regime were established from disciplined marching patterns but the ideas of revolt were not as powerfully formed, essentially missing a sense of angst and abandonment from order.
Lucy Palmer’s solo How am I not myself? managed to retain stronger purpose in its euphoric exploration of self. The work was performed by the captivating Harry Parr who executed a complex and curious movement vocabulary. This seemed to be unconsciously initiated within the depths of his torso, causing convulsions to ripple throughout the body. Although the piece presented a solitary performer there was a sustained sense that Parr was not alone. He continuously held a direct outward focus with a particular section of the auditorium creating the impression that his discovery of self was subject to an external validation.
201 Dance Company combined a powerful hybrid of contemporary and hip-hop with emotive storytelling to convey an intimate journey of gender transitioning. Skin progressed through a vast emotional range. From its aggressive beginning as Michaela Cisarikova desperately tried to shed her female identity, to tender moments of tranquillity as the young Sophia Sutton helped Cisarikova transform. The four remaining dancers embodied social constraints that forcefully oppressed this exploration of gender identity. It was disappointing that there was not more of the compelling choreography, however, what it lacked in dance content it surely made up for with its courageous narrative.
The moves in Laura Ganotis's Revolution Opera may be abstract, but there's something very real and human about its three dancers, as they embark on a series of tasks, whether gently jacking as if on a dancefloor, playing a sort of Simon Says, or with their knees quietly buckling and bodies following suit – like those wooden toys where you push the base to collapse the figure on top. For all that nothing earth-shattering is happening here, there's something immensely watchable about these performers and the ease and casual quality of their movement. I'll look forward to seeing more from Ganotis.
We're certain to be seeing more of dancer Harry Parr, who's given a brilliant showcase by choreographer Lucy Palmer in How Am I Not Myself? A phone rings in the corner of the stage. Turns out it's Timothy Leary calling, and something not so much mind-altering as body-altering is about to take place. A jagged energy runs through Parr's body as joints pop and limbs seem to have a mind of their own. He's propelled by throwaway virtuosity and the reflexes of a street dancer (though the language is contemporary). It's a pity the piece loses steam towards the end, but this is a compelling and engaging performer in control of the stage.
201 Dance Company and choreographer Andrea Walker had a hit at last year's Edinburgh Festival with Smother, and their offering here, Skin, looks like a strong early sketch for a follow-up. Walker's USP is dark, ominous atmosphere, hard-edged commercial-style street dance and emotional storytelling, all of which are in evidence. Dancer Michaela Cisarikova is a woman shackled by the costume of her gender and desperate to shed her skin and find a body that feels like her, or his, own. I'd say this is still a work in progress, but it's nonetheless a bold piece with a confident cast and brave theme.