Blogs

21 January 2018
Author: Natalie Russett & Teresa Guerreiro

Sat 20 Jan: Hannah Cameron Dance/Lewis Cooke/Pierre & Baby

Hanna Cameron Dance  Brace Leash Pack

Lewis Cooke  A Time When All The Lights Must Be Hidden

Pierre & Baby  achilles

Programme 7 of Resolution 2018 brought together three contrasting pieces with one thing in common: all sought to explore facets of human behaviour.

For sheer impact the evening belonged to Lewis Cooke. in his solo work A Time When All The Lights Must Be Hidden he captured the anguish of a man who senses things nobody else can perceive. ‘I have seen… I have seen…’ he cried as he reached out to touch things so real to him: an insect perhaps, or a waterfall… It’s a piece of hyper-physical theatre; and as a strong and expressive dancer Cooke did it full justice. Pretty it isn’t, but it’s accomplished, powerful, and haunting.

Hannah Cameron Dance certainly does pretty in Brace Leash Pack. One man and three women dressed in eye-filling orange and chocolate brown costumes, circled the stage in rhythmic hops, punctuated by elegant attitudes en avant. Occasionally one woman broke away to do her own thing, while the pack continued its coordinated dancing. Set against an electronic soundscape, the work explored group dynamics, and did so with verve; but two thirds of the way through, there was an inexplicable and probably unnecessary gag involving much messing about with a microphone. The mind boggled a little.

The final piece of the evening started with an image straight out of an Italian baroque painting. Lit from above so that their flesh became a luscious canvas of light and shadow, two men in satin shorts postured sensuously with deliberate effeminacy. Pierre & Baby’s achilles considered how dating apps affect what they describe as ‘queer experiences.’ Blending dancing and digital projections of themselves, the work focused on the physical body which the two men obsessively explored, caressed and exposed, as they went through rituals of meeting, connecting and breaking apart into another cycle of loneliness and longing. It’s an engaging piece that reaches well beyond a niche audience. Like the two preceding works, achilles amply demonstrates dance’s ability to ask questions relevant to all our lives.

Teresa Guerreiro


 

The live electronic sound pulses through the theatre for the opening of Saturday's Triple Bill, as the four dancers, dressed in somewhat futuristic costumes, circle the space with hypnotising circuitry, like electrons of a single atom. Out of fluid movement comes sudden trips and hops, prompting breakaway solo moments, before reforming their pack. The comic interlude, slotted in the middle of the piece is a suprising moment. It draws our attention to the live sound and movement relationship, but doesn’t quite fit comfortably with the rest of the piece. On the whole, the music builds to an intensity which the dancing seems to want to, but doesn’t quite match in energy.

Lewis Cooke presents us with a tense, emotionally-charged solo, hovering around the realm of Akram Khan’s work. Outbursts of frustration implode into movement in between gestures of desperation, structured on a loop appropriate to the sensitive subject matter. The frontal strip of lights and Cooke’s body falling back into smoky darkness is a powerful image, but some of the many bold staging decisions felt unnecessary. As a performer, Cooke could look for more places to truly catch his breath, to ease the tension of a charged solo for both himself and the audience.

The third piece of the evening seems to open onto a glimmering, prelapsarian Adam and Eve. Lights go up slowly onto their glitter-covered, bare-chested bodies, in a pair of shorts, Luke Baffico and Peter Babbage move elegantly through a series of poses. Achilles' subject matter is immediately relevant and hip. Edgy black and white photograph projections of the two dancers, contrasting their physical bodies points to the discrepancy between our virtual and physical identities. Over the course of the piece, the ideas feel less developed. The longer movement sections blurred meaning. In its current form, I would also question whether the piece would be better suited to an Exhibition space.

Natalie Russett

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