Felicity’s Kerr’s Terpiscore opened the night with a hypnotising image: three dark bodies silhouetted against dusk-time-gold. The darkness faded and figures grew defined. The trio moved through Cunningham shapes punctuated with torrents of strangeness and memorably half-finished phrases of the Blue Danube twanged on a harmonica. These Trinity Laban graduates are capable but Terpiscore needs to be more self-aware. Kerr presented us with something fundamentally silly. Without her recognising this, it was difficult not to get irritated. If the trio unified their tone to rhyme with Gordon Raeburn’s playful performance, it could be fun.
Post-interval we returned to meet another trio, this time the mature performers of Shaky Isles Theatre who in blue and grey t-shirts shared their debut piece Spinning Coins. Having lost my Resolution! ticket and spilled blood-coloured jam all over the inside of my bag, I could relate to the topic of daily struggles. Moments of beauty were made profound by the generous energy of Yuyu Rau. This rawness was, however, inconsistent. The combined experience of the company meant they were able to disguise what was in fact the very beginning of coherent exploration.
Guarini Dance Company’s Patuà begins with a stare. We’re challenged by Becky Hardman’s presence; tattooed and glorious. Five dancers join her and we can just about make them out in the midst of haze which, with the super-hero soundtrack, promises big drama. We’re guided through the mist with high-legged tricks, intense eye contact and the textured sensuality of Ella Mesma. With the drums came stylised versions of capoeira duets which didn't quite fill the atmosphere. It would be more effective to lose the pretty dance shapes and get dirty.
Both the title (TerpsiScore) and the company name (FlickerrDance) chosen for this evening’s inoffensively experimental curtain-raiser indicate that young choreographer/composer (and Trinity Laban graduate) Felicity Kerr possesses a more playful, even arch sensibility than her rather too po-faced, approximately quarter-hour work actually delivered. Clad in grey and black pyjamas, Sarah Fletcher, Gordon Raeburn and Kerr herself hopscotched about a stage dotted with merely decorative wicker dodecahedrons, their Cunninghamesque steps and flicking gestures accompanied by voice and, in the also-whistling Raeburn’s case, a pair of harmonicas. The threesome took its business too seriously; you want to say to them,' Please, lighten up a little'…
A more experienced trio slipped into the spotlight next. Shaky Isles Theatre’s Spinning Coins is the brainchild of Emma Deakin, Hubert Essakow and Yuyu Rau – polished performers with presence. Text and dance (the latter either individually tailored or unison/canon) suggested damaged, esteem-starved characters: self-deluding, contradictorily repressed Deakin, falling- to-pieces Essakow and stooped, crabbed Rau seeking a universal fixer for the pervasive malaise all three share. Although watchably accessible in what is an admittedly early stage of development, this reasonably engaging dance-theatre collaboration could benefit from a deeper, more daring loosening up and perhaps less talk. Kudos to Martyn Duffy’s bristling, percolating sound design.
It’ll be interesting to see how Ponciano Almeida of Guarini Dance Company might move along Patua, a tasty teaser inspired by the life of the allegedly legendary capoeira artist Besouro. For now it’s no biographical dance, but rather a sensual, ritualistic abstract ensemble piece in which a supporting cast of five (compact Becky Hardman and streamlined Ella Mesma were the stand-outs) slithered and seethed until the surprise materialisation of Ponciano – a coiled, gymnastic animal. Influenced by contemporary and folk dance, the ensemble’s capoeira-led movement tended to be lush and low-down. Exits and entrances need work; radiant, fog-drenched coloured lighting was more of a plus than low-to-no-budget rehearsal garb. Promising.