Blogs

1 February 2018
Author: Siobhan Murphy & Francesca Marotto

Wed 31 Jan: Ania Straczynska/Mapped Dance Theatre/Amy Foskett Dance

Ania Straczynska Grains

Mapped Dance Theatre Same Sheet, Different Day

Amy Foskett Dance To the Flame the Moth Said

Three was the magic number at Resolution on Wednesday night – each of the three pieces was performed by a trio of dancers. The Polish-born choreographer Ania Straczynska added two musicians to the stage for Grains, performing a commissioned piece shot through with traces of eastern European folk music. Straczynska’s strong, rhythm-led choreography combined a studied, weighted style, incorporating lots of athletic lifts, holds and off-axis support, with increasingly more folk-like gestures and spins. A push-pull between the comfort of a collective memory/set of movements and a need for individuality was tentatively developed, but ultimately Grains remained rather frustratingly ambiguous.

There was a decidedly more madcap air to Mapped Dance Theatre’s Same Sheet, Different Day, which imagined the hopes and dreams of three put-upon laundry workers. As the dial spun on the radio, each had their turn: one bursting from a pile of laundry with flowers and dreamily turning a sheet into a swaddled baby; the second going for comedy burlesque, extracting a seemingly endless supply of yellow rubber gloves from under her clothes; the last adopting the razzle-dazzle and sparkly dress of a West End hoofer. Vibrant performances from all three made this great fun – if only the periods in between, when they shook out sheets and pillowcases in silence, creating snapping, whipping rhythms, hadn’t been quite so protracted…

Amy Foskett and her trio provided the most technically accomplished performance of the evening – To the Flame the Moth Said, was an exhilarating blast of dynamic, full-bodied, muscular movement powered by a drum’n’bass-like tumble of beats. Transfixed by random, piercing spotlights, the dancers in turn were shoved or grabbed or held back out of harm’s way – a strong sense of cohesion among this trio was palpable, driven by their thoughtful partnering. And as the initial “moth to a flame” idea burnt itself out, their intricate, intimate, fluid combinations were still absorbing to watch.

Siobhan Murphy


Grains opens with a female trio lit by a square light beam. A slow clapping on a loop sets the steady rhythm for a sequence of poses and entanglements that develop into a collective piece punctuated by a vigorous tempo infused with Eastern European folk elements. The intricate flow of lifts and pulls generated by this energetic sequence is captivating to watch, and the score played live by a string duo suggests the exceptional attention Ania Straczynska dedicated to the performance. The audience is taken on a journey that runs through traditional folk movements and contemporary vocabulary, ending with spectacular short solos repeated over and over till the exhaustion - probably an attempt to create a continuity between past and present. But this transition is not quite clear and leaves me a bit disorientated.

Thorough a witty use of bed sheets as metaphor and playing with the homophony of the word, Same Sheet, Different Day is a humorous and mind-blowing take on the boredom of daily routine. The sharp sound and repetitive rhythm of sheets shaken out in silence is regularly interrupted by jolly music played on the radio and transports the scene into a hilariously dreamy one. Three dancers have their go at times, picturing themselves as Broadway stars or holding newborn babies, but their dreams are always brought back to the tedious reality. Although the repetitive pattern of shaking sheets can be irritating after a while, this is a very effective and terrifically enjoyable piece of dance theatre.

Time comes for the final work, and yet another outstanding trio. Focusing on the feeling of being dangerously attracted by something, To The Flame The Moth Said captures immediately my attention and builds a strong immersive atmosphere. Twisted together in darkness as a sort of single entity, dancers slowly rise until a sudden light triggers a hectic reaction. From here the piece converts into an energetic and intense sequence of contact and raw movements, accompanied by a minimalist electro score. The beguiling tight sequence of pulling and lifting conveys a sense of relentless high tension that persists for the entire performance. Amy Foskett's choreography is the standout work of the evening.

Francesca Marotto

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