Blogs

15 February 2018
Author: Savannah Saunders & Coral Montejano Cantoral

Wed 14 Feb: GoldHill Dance Company/Nicole McDowall/Arielle Smith

GoldHill Dance Company Hand Towards

Nicole McDowall Nelum

Arielle Smith Lots Of Varied Expectations

Resolution festival continues with a line up of three emerging female choreographers that delivered a mixed programme to a full house at The Place.

GoldHill Dance Company kicked off the evening with the two founding choreographers Kiri Golding and Emma Hill performing Hand Towards that seeks to explore the question, Where do you feel most at ease? And while the two artists create a physical dialogue interspersed with some good contact moments of constraining, supporting and resisting as they come together, the subject and original music score felt it could've been more deeply explored.

Nicole McDowall's Nelum promised a hip-hop solo, but if you're expecting a typical high energy body-popping spectacular you'll still be pleasantly surprised by the hip-hop infused, slower, darker and introspective interpretation that makes hip-hop the essence but McDowall the central force. Visually effective use of light and original music from the talented Mikey J created an intense mood that starts out slow and builds into a hip-hop crescendo. A good concept that intrigues me to see what McDowall creates next.

The best of the night was definitively saved for last with Arielle Smith's Lots Of Varied Expectations. And my expectations were blown away from the opening scene to the final moment. Smith's piece could confidently grace any major stage and lifted the emerging artist bar significantly higher, as she asks the audience if we can see past gender with a cast of four male and four female talented dancers. And while her question framed my view, I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the piece from the 40s costumes, jazzy music and smoky atmosphere to the absorbing narrative and charming characters who performed distinct choreography through impressive duos and group elements that were quirky, hip and humorous. The stand out piece of the night and a choreographer to watch for the future!

Savannah Saunders


Two women get dressed on stage, and with glances of complicity start a playful, dynamic, yet plain duet. Throughout fifteen minutes, Kiri Golding and Emma Hill move in space without pauses or stillness: at times pulling or rolling in unison, at others hugging, balancing or provoking each other. Hand Towards explores the idea of placing the body in unpredictable scenarios in order to push the boundaries of our comfort zone. However, the lack of realness made the piece predictable. I could see vibrant potential; maybe more weight, ‘out of balance’, speed and opposite extremes would make this piece evolve and challenge the performers.

It is not easy to be alone on stage and to maintain the audience's attention all the way through.  Nicole McDowall dressed in black ornamental costume, knows how to do it.  Nelum is a strong solo about identity, supported by Mikey J's exciting original sound composition. Starting with fluid and sensitive movements, the piece quickly unravels into dynamic hip hop and contemporary language. It seems that McDowall is very into herself throughout the whole piece, so I was surprised that after walking defiantly into the audience, she returns to what appears to be an honest exposition of herself.

With a wonderful soundtrack including Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong, Lots of Varied Expectations is a refreshing, warm and entertaining piece to conclude the night. Not only does the music create an atmosphere, but the clever balance of earthy vintage costumes and opaque lighting gives the stage a sense of dream-like images. Like animals in courtship, the piece is constructed by different expositions of heterosexual couples who are desperately and comically trying to find… well, love. It then switches to highly rhythmical group unisons that make you want to stand up and join the party. Arielle Smith finds a way of making a true parody out of the pursuit of honest relationships.

Coral Montejano Cantoral

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