The Place, London
January 31, 2018
Emerging artists need platforms to show their work, and the annual Resolution season at The Place Theatre provides just that. Audiences also get the chance to comment on the choreographers’ ideas and creative solutions. As always, the triple-bill of new pieces on January 31 provided food for thought.
Grains, by Polish choreographer Ania Straczynska, tells a story about attachment to custom and community. She takes an inspiration from traditional folk dances, using characteristic gestures and ideas of circling to transform the material into rich, contemporary movement. On stage, three women pose a question about a relationship between individuality and community expressed through physical connections. Tender partnering and innovative lifts form the ebb and flow that show a strong feeling of being together, but at the same time a desire to move apart and go forward. Where is the balance between the tradition and progress? These reflections about affiliation and breaking free are accompanied by folk-based live music, played live, which enriches the ambience.
Same Sheet, Different Day by Mapped Dance Theatre begins unusually with the use of large laundry sheets. Choreographer Matt Phillips expresses an idea of duties of everyday life experienced by people. However, he reminds us that we all hide wishes and desire to break out of routine reflected in the dancers performing unexpected comic fragments to popular melodies between the monotonous motion of white sheets. In spite of the interesting yet familiar subject matter, the work doesn’t fully succeed, though. The choreography fails to sustain the humour (more work is needed on the comedy skills) or to make best use of the clever props, including a radio station.
The last piece, To The Flame The Moth Said, starts with a folded formation of two women and man in the middle of stage. Like creatures attracted to its glow, they struggle to reach to a thin shaft of light above their heads. Choreographer, Amy Foskett, working in collaboration with the dancers, presents a fight for that flame; an aspiration to embrace its brightness. The choreography makes good use of body weight, visible in fluid, smooth partnering as the bodies melt into each other. The sounds, forceful and electronic, remain with the performers almost to the end when the use of breath and gesture is introduced. It was impressive. The performers, subject matter and a truly daring lighting design by Chauvet Lighting crowning the evening.