If it is January, it must be Resolution!, the Place’s enterprising dance programme that gives untested dance-makers a chance to stage work in front of a paying audience.
This year – the 23rd such event – 78 choreographers will be taking part over the next six weeks, with a different line-up each night trying to follow in the footsteps of illustrious discoveries such as Wayne McGregor, Javier de Frutos, and Katie Prince, all of whom have taken important early steps in their careers under the event’s benign wing.
The programmes are assembled more or less randomly, with even the organisers not entirely sure what to expect. And that is part of the fun. You never know whether you are going to be bored witless, thrilled or something in between – so there was a real sense of anticipation in the sold-out first-night audience.
Only one work on the programme, however, shared that sense of adventure. Hats off to Holly Noble, who with her A D Dance Company had the ambition to stage Fawn, a fully realised dance work for eight dancers, full of actual steps.
She had chosen virtually impossible music – the Mozart Requiem – and her fractured classicism owed obvious debts to many famous predecessors, Kenneth MacMillan among them. But her young dancers performed admirably, and though there was little flow to the piece – it moved from pose to pose at a stately pace – there were numerous thoughtful touches. I particularly liked the way one dancer supported the other as they flexed their back and arms into a graceful curve to the word “requiem” and the pas de deux in the Kyrie had an appealingly tender grace. It didn’t scream its originality, but deserves five stars for effort and promise.
It was a particular pleasure because the other two short works before were so disappointingly solipsistic, seeming to ask and answer questions only of interest to the performers.
The Ticket Theatre Dance’s Scratched, choreographed by Lexi Bradburn took a promisingly amusing idea – the failure of Miss Stubbs and Miss Ash to arrive to perform “The smoking pas deux” – and then let that premise itself go up in smoke, with a lot of aimless noodling, loose-limbed tapping and the odd burst of steel-band drum panning.
In Chocolate, Eleanor Sikorski found various ways to eat a lot of chocolate before finally vanishing in a puff of cocoa dusted smoke. It felt like a thin idea endlessly expanded, rather as Sikorski’s own slim form will do if she continues to perform this piece.