Russell Maliphant Company at the Print Room at the Coronet, London
March 8, 2018
The Coronet in Notting Hill Gate is unlike any other theatre space in London. It feels like going to spend an evening with old friends in a cosy club where the casual disorder of rooms, piled with pre-loved tat, is sharply contrasted with the incisive intellectual level of the discourse.
maliphantworks2 is a bijoux evening of approximately an hour of performance where the essence is quality, not quantity. Maliphant’s style: an infinite variety of moves on a similar theme is given a distinctive edge by each of the four performers. He is master of mesmeric muscle flow as bodies are caught in shafts of light and the dynamics subtly shift.
Critical Mass matches Maliphant’s easy elegance with Dickson Mbi’s latent power as the two dancers put weight and balance to the test. Mbi came into his own in Still, his body melting and flowing like mercury against the floor animation of moving lines. The video, created by Jan Urbanowski’s, adds an important element, an undercurrent that can up the pace or bring an aura of calm.
In Two Times Two, Dana Fouras and Grace Jabbari, each illuminated in a solitary square of light, harmonise in countless configurations of arm and upper body moves. Other, the video installation of Atlantic waves, shown in the Studio throughout the evening, enforced the theme: the relentless repetition of constant minimal change that makes watching waves so utterly compelling, the froth on the waves masking the titanic force of nature buried below.
The evening closed on a new duet written by Maliphant and danced with long-time partner, Fouras, called, simply, Duet. This was vintage Maliphant, elegant courtly dance surprised by poignant personal gestures or an occasional elevated lift, it flowed with poetic grace and left a mellow afterglow. This intimate space was the ideal setting as the light caught an ornate rust-red antique pillar or created a secret corner. It seemed the stars had aligned to create a magic moment. But rather than waxing sentimental, I just hope this special place continues to attract exceptional talent.