A sold out Resolution and a strong student vibe tonight in support of choreographer alumni from The Place, London Studio Centre and Rambert, made for a buzzy evening.
The six identically dressed dancers in Binary explore with robotic precision the functional manipulation of objects. Metronomes, a flurescent light, a heater and a plant are some of the random props which they arrange autistically around the stage. Moments of mathematically structured phrases and razor-sharp, synchronised gestures are satisfying to watch and oddly amusing. But what is more interesting is a curious flavour of dysfunction which creeps in, as if the batteries of this efficient collective are running flat. Outbursts of wild dancing, fudged spoken words and out- of sync timing bring a welcome chaos. Ultimately, however, while the physical performances remain tip- top, the intention of Anders Duckworth’s Binary becomes blurred.
In Edit Domoszlai’s Competitive Plasticity, Rambert students Tania Dimbelolo and Kimmy Stark are cyborgs running on fast articulate sequences which repeatedly short circuit: angular extensions collapse, limb- lines snap, heads flop. Then the exhilarating, frenetic action starts up again as they race to outdo each other in their pursuit of complex, neurological, mind/body connections. Both dancers have an intriguing tender, human side, shown in their intimate partnering and exchanges of traumatised facial expression. Could there be love alongside the rivalry? Their duet is too short to tell but it’s a fascinating, bitter-sweet experiment inspired by a neurologist’s Haiku poem.
Quite a relief to move away from scientific explorations and mathematical formulas to Edd Mitton’s eloquent and poetic investigation of skies and elemental forces. Four lyrical women, (ex-London Studio Centre students) dance generously through the space both spreading out or clumping together in formations inspired by birds and clouds. Philip Glass’s music is a suitable accompaniment to their dynamic, abstract compositions that convey the ever-changing activities of the ether. Yet there is a strong expressionistic essence to their movement: in their partner work and shape-making. Cloudscape portrays the rhythms of the ethereal world but is grounded in an earthy assurity.
Brain or Body? The binary opposition at the source of a choreographer’s every choice; its repercussions reverberate through movement regardless of best-laid plans. This binary hovers over tonight’s sold-out performance. In fact, it’s the title of Anders Duckworth’s first piece. Duckworth presents a fluorescent lit androgynous office world where individuality is circumscribed by technology and repetition. Aspects of the piece show real promise: the use of lighting and tableaux at the beginning, movements embodying the mechanical through syncopated claps, angular shapes and the jarring static of a live microphone. Ultimately, however, the work crumbles under the weight of its concept.
In comparison, Edd Mitton’s source of inspiration for Cloudscape is analogue. Streamlined and simple, Cloudscape is rooted in the sensual experience of the body and its connection to nature. Mitton’s piece starts with one dancer on stage, enveloped in darkness, the audience focused on her spot-lighted face as she traces clouds in the sky. The central conceit is that movement mirrors the clouds. This is translated into a dance vocabulary of swirling. Swirling arms, swirling legs and swirling waltzes criss-cross the stage. Overall, Mitton’s piece often feels reductive. Prioritising unison, Cloudspace could instead have exploited spacing and bodily interaction to greater mirror celestial movement.
Finally, Edit Domoszlai’s Competitive Plasticity brought the evening to a close by demonstrating the unique power of dance to dissolve the brain/body binary. Inspired by a neurologist’s Haiku and aiming to embody subconscious thought and brain function the conceptual aims are no less ambitious than Duckworth’s piece. In comparison Edit Domoszlai builds meaning out of movement. Technically sophisticated, Tania Dimbelolo and Kimmy Stark’s performance showcases their impressive symbiotic synchronisation; their bodies weave together and entangle each other. Their tentacle limbs and physical closeness veer from the sensuous to the violent. Moments of discordance build tension, while their kinetic energy embodies the ‘never-ending buzz’ of the brain.