Forgive the cliche, but Rosie Kay Dance Company’s latest tour might be small but it is perfectly formed. That’s small as in the number of dancers involved – two – rather than the tour itself which has dates scattered across the country and runs through to November. But nobody should feel short-changed – it’s the two dancers that really sell this double bill to the max and make it such compulsive viewing. Shelley Eva Haden and Oliver Russell joined Kay for the award-winning 5 Soldiers tours and it’s a pleasure to see them flex as dancers into two other meaty works that could not be more different.
Double Points: K was created by Rosie Kay based on Emio Greco’s original Double Points: Two and references the same costume designs and original lighting designer but departs on music. Created by Kay in 2008, it’s a striking 30-minute abstract work that places the dancers in nearly constant synchronisation and clearly defined emphatic movement – no smudges here and rather neo-balletic in nature. Dressed entirely in grey, they both wear dresses (the only part of departure is that Haden’s is fitted) and perform on a bare black stage divided by a long white diagonal line painted on the floor – it seems to split the two dancers’ worlds. Julien Guillamat’s sound collage works in dubstep, electro and Bach, all of which inform and drive the movement, perhaps none more so than a part which feels like the inner works of a clock with meticulous movement. The work thrillingly chops and changes mood, but always driven by the same intense concentration and togetherness of the dancers. At times you feel you might be watching some elaborate courtship ritual, honed over millennia, each sex playing its possessed and precise part. But then, to the Bach, it can briefly explode in scintillating individual displays. However you interpret it Double Points: K is a captivating piece of concentrated dance.
The latest Rosie Kay piece (this was the premiere) is Motel, based on the coolly detached Room pictures of artists Huntley Muir and a spooky score by Ryoji Ikeda. Kay delves underneath to the dreamlike world where each dancer occupies their own motel room/bed and fantasizes about sex – mostly! There a surreal Pulp Fiction feel to it all and you’re never sure if you might be seeing businessman and escort getting it together and/or each remembering past drunken encounters and/or innermost dark hopes for the future. It’s so not a piece for youngsters but an often funny and thoughtful look at what makes us tick and don’t usually talk about. If you ever wondered how Tracey Emin’s bed got into the chaotic state it did then this might provide parts of a fanciful explanation. Motel is a gem of a work and another absorbing 30 minute piece – it’s a hallmark of Rosie Kay that she never leaves you bored or feeling that something was spun out way over its allotted time.
At the moment this striking double bill is not scheduled to be shown in London – which is bonkers. Enterprising dance venues in the capital should pull their fingers out so that London can see what the rest of the country will be rabbiting on about. Whatever and wherever, go and be thrilled by an award-winning company in great creative form.