Resolution festival @ The Place roundup

The Place’s Resolution festival of new choreography brought together 54 artists and companies from London and beyond to debut and perform striking contemporary dance work.

Dance art journal writers Katie Hagan, Stella Rousham and Qiao Lin Tan were fortunate to catch a few performances across the festival. Read on to hear their reflections…

Saturday 20th January

Timothy by Jonathan Aubrey-Bentley sees contemporary dancer Timothy retrained as a zookeeper, tending to a chimp also called Timothy. The dance switches from the perspective of Timmy the chimp to Timmy the zookeeper, to the point where, as audience members, the identities merge and we don’t know who is who. Seemingly light and playful on the surface, what lies beneath Aubrey-Bentley’s Timothy is a dark, cautionary tale about what might happen if the value of arts careers is lost. – Katie Hagan

After a brief interval, the evening moves on to  Manon Servage’s Spectrum. I’ve written about the dance film version of Spectrum here so it was nice to see its evolution to the stage. A piece that seeks to overturn the stereotypes that put us in boxes, Spectrum is a touching and meditative performance that uses a lot of caressing choreography to create a sense of complete togetherness. – KH

H A y w I R e by Inbetween Collective closes the evening with a real punch. The piece begins with a woman onstage, her face completely concealed by her black hair. She darts, drops and dips, tussling with her hair as if it has got a mind of its own. In the tense darkness another woman emerges. The striking moment comes around three-quarters in when the second woman starts rata-tap-tapping on the floor with her feet; leading a tense and rich flamenco alongside the first dancer who accents clicking heels with contemporary bends and swoops. With both dancers embodying different dance styles to highlight ‘what their hair says about them’ H A y w I R E is a rich meditation on the role women’s hair has in defining the way they’re perceived. – KH

H A y w I R e by Inbetween Collective.

Wednesday 24 January

Accumulative walks, stamps, shakes, swishes, pelvic twists and turns – Francesca Matthys’ solo, STAP (ST-AH-P) is richly textured, like the layers of fabric in her multi-coloured skirt. Guided by the pulsive beat from on-stage musician, Mendones, Matthy’s moves majestically through corridors of golden light with a force that is rhapsodic and tender.  

Like a reptilian organism, Joshua Yates’ quintet, Yonder, slinks through juxtaposing tableaus of silky synchrony and discordant solos. Eruptions of spoken word and mouthing in silence. An air of frustration and entrapment. 

A child in a garish pink dress falls down the rabbit hole, again. An Anime-style fight morphs into nurturing duet. Ingenious props, wit and biographical reflections, Wency Lamb’s Dear Adult offers a cartoon-like journey through darkness, nostalgia and hope. – Stella Rousham.

Friday 26 January

Mean Girls meets Korean folklore in Sunhi Keller’s 9 Tales of Bitch. Whispers and giggles behind hand-held fans. Hair swishes and hip thrusts. Pristine lines and circular formations become a cackling, writhing, open-mouthed monster. Patriarchy never looked so grotesque.  

Sunhi Keller’s 9 Tales of Bitch

Hoodies and handstands. Sirens and cartoons. Faces and torsos, revealed and concealed. Two heads tilt closer and closer together. To kiss? To fight? Vittorio Pagani’s three-act duet – Hinterland – a nuanced, interdisciplinary undressing of masculinity.

Painted red, the fingers of solo performer, Vasiliki Papapostolou, form a camera shape, capturing three contrasting sequences. Robotic limbs moving to metronome ticks, a dystopian video projection and bird-like dancing. An intensely atmospheric take on Foucault’s panopticon. – Stella Rousham.

Tuesday 30th January

A night with very strong and visually impressive group phrases. But for some, perhaps more time was needed for the development of solos. Yee Kei Yuki Chung’s On The Other Side contemplated various forms of mourning, performed by technically superb dancers but the solos lacked a clear impetus.

Nefeli Kentoni’s Constellation of Awakening

NON PLAYABLE CHARACTER by Glenn Hudson (Definitives) explored the chains of control in society, with some beautifully-crafted group scenes. However, the opening was abrupt and the work ended before Hudson could really get to their point. Nefeli Kentoni’s Constellation of Awakening was an expertly executed play between performance/anti-performance, telling/showing, reality/fiction about the end of sight. A joy to watch, with unexpected humour, evocative text and almost cinematic mise-en-scénes. – Qiao Lin Tan.

Wednesday 31 January

Lizzy Tan’s Revolver was a self-referential piece exploring questions about the archive through Tan’s past repertoire. The past Tan danced alongside the present Tan in the space via projected videos of old rehearsal footage. The question posed was interesting, but it felt like a work-in-progress sharing rather than a richly-developed piece of choreography. Leuca by Emma Skyum took place in between two lighting setups, but I was unsure of her relationship to them. The choreography, although extremely physical and expertly performed, quickly became repetitive. Aimée Ruhinda’s A Good Scare is a Wonderful Aphrodisiac featured various images of archetypal witches. As a woman, the work’s feminine rage and rebellion was cathartic and affirming. Formally, however, I felt it was a collage of images strung together that could have been treated with more care. – Qiao Lin Tan.