Not a stellar night. The first two works were especially half-baked. Take Molly Wright’s too self-consciously casual quartet for two mature dancers (Tamar Swade, Bob Williamson) and their younger counterparts (Luke Birch, Gaelin Little). Or perhaps they were a family unit. In any case each walked, skipped or twirled downstage, sometimes touching the floor. They engaged in other equally amorphous, glancing encounters set to an eclectic soundtrack (gentle electronica, easy listening, a truncated Barry White track) but to what point? Best bits: the cast sprawled still on the floor mid-way through and, just before the lights faded, shifting haltingly upstage in a clump.
And what to make of Corinne Jola’s duet with live music? Bare branches hung artily above self-described indie ‘psychedelic folk singer/songwriter’ Stuart O’Connor playing area. Dancers Jan Lee, flirtatiously fickle and winsome in a red frock, and Adam Kirkham, skinny in tatty suitcoat and stained, too-short trousers, scooted and scurried about as the not-untalented muso looped his multiple instruments and vocals (which were at one point far, far too loud). ‘What is it you’re waiting for?’ O’Connor screamed. My answer would’ve been: stronger, clearer ideas (including kinetic) and, ultimately, closure to a not terribly winning piece.
Justyna Janiszewska’s female trio also featured literally plucky live music (by violinist Naomi Burrell, playing alongside guitarist Johan Lofving). Initially Alicia Kidman Jolien van Haaster and Georgia Tegou, in loose patterned dresses, zigzagged hands and arms at different levels centrestage in overhead light a la Russell Maliphant. This was succeeded by copycat moves; a solo spate of self-generated sound effects cued to gestural body language; all three running in place with upper limbs wheeling backwards; furious jiggles to scratchy strings; and the lankiest dancer rolling about the floor as the other two circumscribed her actions. The stated theme was the certainty of change. Flecked with absurdist humour, Janiszewska’s inconclusive but promising, lively little opus might also be considered a critique of conformity.
- Donald Hutera
A combination of ideas is apparent in Looping under a Tree but they fail to meld together to produce a sound piece of work. The notion that the performance is about waiting is literally shouted at us by live musician and singer Stuart O’Connor. Using a looping machine to record and replay his voice and an assortment of instruments, the initial result is a good one. His tender lyricism matches that of the movement until O’Connor let rip and pulls away from the piece. Why would the choreographer allow that and why would she cloud Jan Lee’s unusual and striking movement quality with tame choreography? The duet between Lee and Adam Kirkham seems to be a dream or distant memory – surreal and light, intangible but lingering similar to the concept of the performance.
Two old and two young dancers come together in Molly Wright’s Regardless but to say what I’m not sure of. The role of the mature couple seems to be to ensure that no one forgets about them, as they curve in front of the younger dancers clawing for attention. In an unconnected section the dancers bond to the deep vibe of Barry White. Starting with a shoulder shrug and building into a brazen release of preconceptions, the message becomes clear: we may be different in age but underneath we’re the same. Unfortunately the poor choreography causes me to lose interest in both the philosophy and the performance.
The bodies of three female dancers are lost in darkness as their arms and hands snake and weave into a square of light. Occasionally one reacts to the scratch of the violin or guitar making the spectacle even more pleasing to watch. All too soon it’s over as the lights brighten, which I guess ties in with Justyna Janiszewska’s idea of constant change. Although rather crazed and quick – moving, Flux is an enjoyable watch. However, like the other pieces, several ideas are crammed into a 15 minute slot obscuring any potential that could be present.
- Symone Keisha