Lydia Touliatou, Yanaëlle Thiran and Taira Foo at Resolution 2018

The Place, London
January 23, 2018

Maggie Foyer

New choreography and especially student choreography is always of interest. It comes in a variety of form to challenge, delight, annoy and uplift. The offerings at Resolution platform on this January Tuesday were as diverse as one could hope for.

Lydia Touliatou’s Assemblies is an introspective piece sourced from the head rather than the heart. The four female dancers move in individual patterns until spurred to action by a protagonist who sets a new pace running freely round the space and encouraging a more fluid interaction. There is opportunity for relationships to develop interspersed by rare moment of unison. The minimalist structure continues into a solo of sober simplicity, expressed in walking patterns that alternated with standing and sitting, all accompanied by an onstage zither player. It is a thoughtful work from a brave newcomer.

Yanaëlle Thiran, and Shivaangee Agrawal in Swapping ShadowsPhoto Madeline Rose Elliott
Yanaëlle Thiran, and Shivaangee Agrawal in Swapping Shadows
Photo Madeline Rose Elliott

Swapping Shadows had the benefit of two very impressive performers, choreographer Yanaëlle Thiran, and Shivaangee Agrawal. In their solos, each woman confidently held the stage and working together they mirrored the eponymous shadows in interesting and effective choreography. The sounds, music and text from poet Kathryn Rock provide a busy accompaniment, while an injection of solo in Bharatanatyam style adds diversity. Despite this, the work retains its distinct identity and was compelling throughout.

In Flowers in December, Taira Foo and Hinged Dance Co tackle one of the major issues of our times: the refugee crisis. The raw physicality of the street-based movement, the company’s trademark style, brings fear and the pain to the surface. Trying to get a handle on the issue in a 20-minute piece is a huge ask, and the narrative is at times overloaded, but the commitment of the dancers in bringing the reality of the refugees’ trauma to the stage was delivered with total honesty.

The few props: flowers, a portable wire fence and a block of stairs, are used effectively in a myriad of guises from tunnels to boats to prisons while Foo’s powerful movement gives the dancers the expressive tools they need. The shortcomings of the complex structure were easily outweighed by their searing performances.