News & Blogs

26 January 2018
Author: Coral Montejano Cantoral & Josephine Leask

Thu 25 Jan: EvokeMotion Dance Theatre.Livia Massarelli/What Is Written Dance Company

EvokeMotion Dance Theatre At One

Livia Massarelli (Un)Changed

What Is Written Dance Company Pursuit of Power

If one has lived in London for a while, you would agree that weather plays an important role in one’s emotional life. This is what happened on the 10th night of Resolution: a triple bill with drastic changes between one piece and another, offering overall a variety of ideas, propositions, bodies and sensations.

Hannah Robinson’s At One, opened the evening with an intimate, human, yet thoughtful duet. Performing in her own work, Robinson and Karl Green gave us a reminder of how intricate and vulnerable a true relationship can be. In silence and using text, the two performers gave us touching images; going through each other’s bodies as if looking for something lost long ago or maybe yearning what they never had; carrying each other, finding spaces, laughing and gripping their hands. The piece takes a brilliant turn when within that tenderness, love and friendship we start to see disagreement. By the end, one questions how to balance the inevitable loneliness with the need of the other to understand oneself.

Four strong dancers in shiny costumes perform a dynamic and structured choreography in Livia Massarelli’s (Un)Changed. Without silences or pauses, the piece takes us on a non stopping journey of familiar forms. Original and powerful music by Maurizio Massarelli kept everybody awake in the room, while at the same time reinforcing the idea of trance, exhaustion and intense physicality. Through unisons, duets and group (Un)Changed was a clean, precise, and engaging choreographic composition. It left me, however, wanting more of something else and less of the same thing.

To close the night, What Is Written Dance Company performed Pursuit of Power. It was indeed a portrayal of submission, force and authority. With movement drawing from contemporary and hip hop, ten performers on stage, mostly in duets and unisons, resemble scenes of fight and confrontation; all dressed in the same dark blue, jail-like costume and gesturing handcuffs behind their backs. It is inevitable to think of how gender plays a role in this type of work. Starting the piece, two men grab two women and take them out of stage. Later, there was a very stereotypical scene of men threatening each other. At the same time, however, other scenes displayed women who were directing the precise movement of men. All of this scrambled in the same piece, it made me wonder if these were conscious decisions or part of a random, unclear or maybe inexistente narrative.

Coral Montejano Cantoral

Hannah Robinson and Karl Green are symbiotically entangled. At least that is how their physically playful and chatty relationship seems in At One. A sequence of atmospherically lit scenarios, seamlessly constructs a portrait of this harmonious couple, as they go about daily life. Down-to-earth dialogue and sensual movement mesh together as comfortably as they are with each other. But it’s neither boring nor predictable. In fact it’s fascinating how they ultimately disconnect because of Green’s neediness and Robinson’s increasing reticence. Acted out in a desperate duet with him dragging her around the space, manipulating her like a floppy doll, she glares out detached and unemotional.

From expressive dance theatre to cool abstraction: this is what Livia Massarelli’s choreography brings in (Un)Changed. A tightly knit group of technically proficient dancers explore the workings of the canon resulting in cycles of movement that constantly diverge then reform. Clubby music together with silvery spangled costumes inject the work with an urban vibe, but form is what’s accentuated here. There’s no let-up in the pace of the piece and while the performers impress with their stamina, at times it becomes just too robotic and mechanical.

What is Written Dance Company members take the stage by force. Wearing prison overalls and defiant expressions, there’s no messing with them as they interrogate power in imaginative displays of hip hop, driven by muscular music. Themes of prison and other disciplinary systems which control and disempower bodies are suggested through manipulative duets, agonised solos and rebellious unison. Power is exchanged, sought after and abused in a rich gestural language performed with heaps of attitude. There’s little gender discrimination here as female dancers hold their own in the hard-core chunky moves.

Josephine Leask


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