The three women of AniCo, trussed up in flesh coloured body stockings, resemble damaged Kokoschka dolls – but their twitchy, fractured movement style and breathy emotion is far from robotic. Anna-Lise Marie Hearn’s choreography, effectively communicates with a psychoanalytic awareness, how events impact our mental and physical space. This she does through lucidly structured gestural phrases, interpreted differently by each dancer which enable them to pass through riveting states of anxiety, frustration then release. There’s little connection between the women until near the end when Laura Boulter and Eleanor Mackinder coil round the feet of Lydia Costello, limiting her actions in a scarily oppressive manner. Tensions suddenly dissipate as the trio explodes all over the space, freeing the group from their clawing neuroses. Intelligent choreography, brilliantly interpreted by these London Studio Centre alumni.
Zosia Jo immediately has our attention, as she narrates a story of love and violence through dance, spoken and recorded text. Her presence is honest and grounded, she wears her vulnerability with pride as she confides in us the intimate details of a love affair with a brutal ending that could easily be a short story by Ian McEwan. Herstory is poetic in movement and word. Physical language morphs with the spoken in a harmonious relationship that has no jarring hesitations. Through emphatic gestures and utterings, Jo makes us feel the visceral experiences of her roller- coaster affair, her sense of violation, self-denial yet ultimately survival. It takes EDge’s light-hearted, warming interval intervention, The Dance We Made 4, to dispel the intoxication of Jo’s performance and bring us back to earth - with a smile.
Psychological states are also examined in Crossing the Line by Matthew Harding. Here it's the boundaries that we build up around ourselves and others. There’s urban grit in the mixed style of hip hop and contemporary that’s used successfully to communicate these ideas. Tight team work by the company members result in a fascinating display of voguing, in which arms move with unbelievable speed and precision. A touch of the gothic – the black costuming and face paint – visually emphasises the state of being excluded or misunderstood by an uncaring society.
Our Physical Intentions explores the interaction between our daily occurrences and our internal worlds. It is conscientiously danced and choreographic ideas are thoroughly dissected. The dancers worm their way in our heads and poke around our dormant anxieties, the way one might pick at a juicy scab. The choreography comes into its own in the duets and trios, and a powerful final sequence leaves the audience exposed in the glare of the house lights. There are times when it feels a bit "one note", but the dancers do an incredible job of maintaining the level of tension and sinister interplay for the length of the piece.
In Herstory, Zosia Jo finds that sweet spot where music, movement and narrative find a creative equilibrium. The performance is mature and compelling. Jo owns the space, drawing us into her world; from the first flush of romance to its painful dissent into control and abuse. Her movement is raw with an honest quality that is refreshingly unpretentious. Jo uses her vulnerability as a solo performer to powerful effect. There are moments where the choreography loses its way a little, but she takes us on an unflinching and unapologetic journey. This is not a misery memoir, far from it. Pockets of humour break through well crafted tension and Jo leads us to a sense of optimism in the closing moments. The piece is a powerful testimony to survival and renewal.
Dancers in Crossing the Line left their egos at the stage door. This is truly a team effort; their well-disciplined, tight ensemble is a pleasure to watch. The sections danced in unison resonate with solidarity and the dancers squeeze every ounce of energy from the pulsating drum beat. Choreographically this piece has a strong personality but it misses opportunities for interactions between the dancers that could lift the work to another level. The costumes feel like an afterthought, which is a shame because otherwise this performance has a lot to offer and is thoroughly enjoyable.
A final word for the EDge dancers and their delicious vignettes of the everyday inspired by conversations with audience members. Performed in the second interval, a small but perfectly formed presentation explores both the mundane and meaningful of our shared humanity. A quirky thank you to the Resolution! audience.