léa tirabasso: Simones
Anything Goes Collective: Fill in the Blanks
James Finnemore: OH / GLORY
London, The Place
14 January 2014
Resolution! 2014 Programme Calendar
Every great creative started somewhere and more than most contemporary choreographers presented early at Place Resolution! – including Wayne McGregor, Hofesh Shechter, Kate Prince and, more recently James Wilton, James Cousins and Eva Recacha. Resolution! is 25 years old this year, in itself cause for celebration, as is the Place installing full air-conditioning and all new seats, numbered ones too. It all seems rather grown up and more comfortable. Artistically the Resolution! deal is unchanged and you are seeing choreographers and dancers doing what is often their first own shows in all their rich, colourful diversity and (sometimes terminally boring) innocence. Going is a huge dance lottery really and therein lies the appeal of catching something fresh and very new. Between now and the 15th February closing night, 72 companies strut their stuff, the list whittled down from 150 hopefuls. And the opening night? Well it was a typical night in many respects – one piece giving cause for hope, another had its fleeting moments and the third wasn’t really ready yet for the big time. But this is the place to experiment, fail, learn from it, and bounce back another year.
Léa Tirabasso’s Simones, danced by herself and two other accomplished dance actresses, was heavy on irony and female stereotypes. It starts with 3 pregnant ladies in silk gowns, apparently glowing with life and yet knowingly still available it seems. Birth is pretty gory and noisy and then the drudgery of domestication, flip to a Miley Cyrus rebellion section and then choral music for a chilled-out “me moment”. All watchable dance drama cameos but it didn’t really take me anywhere new, and original movement wasn’t to the fore. But it was sold well (including bothering with a programme note – HUGE tick) and did look thought about. Not so the middle piece of the evening.
Fill in the Blanks by Anything Goes Collective seemed so full of blanks I’d run out of filling 4 minutes into its 20-minute length. It was about our love affair with personal mobile technology and started with a dancer having a long conversation on her mobile. A really long conversation. I couldn’t really hear enough to tell if it was pedestrian or possibly funny. But essentially we got the same from the other 5 performers involved, though they were more preoccupied with iPod listening, general dance noodling and at one point tunelessly singing along – as you do. It ended with a lot of standing around. To be honest it actually felt like a piece composed by 6 individuals who were only able to paste it together at the very last moment.
The undoubted hit of the night was James Finnemore’s OH / GLORY. Léa Tirabasso, an outsider under a spotlight, opened and closed this dark and eerie piece, inspired by the stories of Breece D’J Pancake who wrote about life in rural Virginia before blowing his brains out aged just 27. Given his death, the end, with Tirabasso declaring, “There are others, I’m not alone”, seemed rather poignant. But it only comes after a strange take on a normal world is unveiled. Two episodes really stuck home – a duet between Pauline Raineri and Mikael Orozco particularly which shows first ‘love’ and he physically checking, inspecting and, at one point sniffing, her limbs. He starts to manipulate and play with them, she almost a doll before coming to life and pushing back. This is curious ‘love’ not sex. Later the two men, Orozco and Finnemore, square up against each other in two separate pools of light each side of the stage. It’s rather like a mock macho combat, sometimes mirroring moves and at other times a kinetic effect of one pushing and at a distance the other being moved. I can’t begin to understand all that’s going on in OH / GLORY, but it was the only piece of the eventing that drew me in and I really wanted to know more and see it again. Good dancers playing with interesting dramatics, supported by atmospheric lighting, cavernous soundtrack and telling movement. Finnemore is one I will be tracking.