News & Blogs

15 January 2017
Author: Josephine Leask & Asteropi Tia Chatzinikola

Sat 14 Jan: James Muller/RAE Dance Collective/Humanhood

James Muller: Symbiotic

RAE Dance Collective: Unravel, le Bolero

Humanhood: ZERO (extract)

Relationships are the theme of Resolution tonight explored through two duets and a group of ten. In James Muller’s Symbiotic, Monique Jonas enveloped in a body stocking like a foetus, creates a powerful sculptural focus as she rises from the floor. She commands the stage as she unfolds in convulsions of sinewy, expanding stretches, casting off her outer skin. Her gorgeous, evolutionary solo is abruptly interrupted by the presence of Nikolas Shikkis, who although as watchable as she is, nevertheless changes the dynamics and dilutes her magnetic presence. There are moments of effective symbiosis when the pair morph into one unit through fluid exchanges of weight but ultimately it is a power struggle and they finish, rather disappointingly, a fragmented unit.

A rearrangement of the Bolero is the musical inspiration for Unravel, le Bolero in which ten dancers perform a music visualisation through the repetition of mainly pedestrian actions: clapping, stamping and mechanical hand gestures. Their strength is in the circle they form, their efficient unison and the caressing, gender- fluid relationships they fall into. Mirroring the music’s punctuated rhythms and its steady crescendo of volume, RAE Dance Collective juxtaposes robotic actions with passionate embraces. It’s riveting for a time. However when they break the circle of love and hurl themselves into more expansive choreography, the tight connection with both music and each other is somewhat lost.

Rudi Cole and Julia Robert blow us away with their forceful, whirlwind of a duet ZERO (extract). Travelling across the stage like the speed of light in mesmerising synchronicity they move and look like Jedi on a mission to rescue the universe. Despite their contrasting sizes and although they mostly dance in parallel planes, they are so in- synch, physically and emotionally, that theirs is the most compatible relationship of the evening. Trancey dance music designed by Iain Armstrong and galactic lighting by Horne Horneman further compliment this choreographer/performer duo. The Force is with them indeed.

Josephine Leask

Symbiotic opened with a gripping scene of birth. James Muller choreographed lyrically a being coming out of the darkness looking for interaction and fellowship. Monique Jonas and Nikolas Shikkis shaped the patterns and the atmosphere of a first journey. The adventure began when they touched and built their primary connection. Muller offered an attractive sequel of the efforts two entities made to co-exist. Yet, the tense side of the relationship could be better presented as an obstacle to overcome for the sake of living together harmoniously. This would validate more effectively the title of the piece, as ‘symbiosis’ refers to a relationship, beneficial for both involved.

Camilla Isola, aka RAE, unraveled bolero in a performance-investigation of the bolero rhythm through intimate gestures, schemes and expressions. Τhe title-wordplay unveils the choreographer’s intentions clearly and effectively. One by one, bodies joined together creating a full rhythmical yet lyrical orchestra like the instruments do in Ravel's Boléro. The powerful human element was always present and hugged the well-structured performance. Isola drew forms on stage connecting with Vigeland’s sculptures in terms of humanity and approach. A future challenge for the choreographer would be to progress the dynamic gesture motif more kinetically and unpredictably, keeping the successfully developed elements.

Rudi Cole and Julia Robert constructed and performed the last work of Saturday’s Resolution: ZERO, a fifteen minute extract of the full-length piece which was enough to boost my energy level. Highly choreographed and deeply researched, it interpreted an unidentified universe starting from point zero. The perfect kinesthetic responsiveness to Armstrong’s music along with Horneman’s brilliant lighting design were two necessary ingredients for shaping a unique and impressive piece. Audience-performers' contact was direct and honest. Cole and Robert explored their new identities inch by inch as they did with the stage. Gradually, the latter transformed from being an unknown space,to their territory.

Asteropi Tia Chatzinikola


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