Three More Diverse Dance Pieces at The Place

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Simpson, Reinhardt, The Cinematic Orchestra, Resolution! 2014: The Sob in the Spine; You wave your dusty hands hello; Pace, Naomi Reynolds Dance, Mansoor Ali and Ellen Johansson, B-Hybrid Dance, The Place, London, 14.2.2014 (JO’D)

B-Hybrid Dance Pane Brian Gillespie
B-Hybrid Dance Pane Brian Gillespie

The Sob in the Spine
Performers: Madelaine Hart, Martin Joyce, Emma Lister, Rob McNeil, Alex Newton
Musicians: Dante Quartet: Krysia Osostowicz and Oscar Perks (violins); Yuko Inoue (viola); Richard Jenkins (cello)
Choreographer: Naomi Reynolds
Music: String Quartet No. 7 by Robert Simpson
You wave your dusty hands hello
Choreographers/Performers: Mansoor Ali and Ellen Johansson
Music: Django Reinhardt
Performers: Alex Buchanan, Eloise Sheldon, Jumar Aben, Lucy Sam, Sofia Micy-Michouli, Hattie Grover
Choreographer: Brian Gillespie
Music: Night of the Iguana by The Cinematic Orchestra


From pointe shoes and string quartets to sweatshirts and techno, via tracksuit bottoms and blues, the penultimate Resolution! 2014 evening at The Place (its platform for young choreographers) consisted of a triple bill that was certainly ‘varied’.

It started with The Sob in the Spine, by Naomi Reynolds Dance, in which five dancers share the stage with the Dante Quartet as the latter play the String Quartet No. 7 by Robert Simpson (choreographer Reynolds’ great uncle). The presence of violinists, viola player and cellist creates a rarefied atmosphere. The piece, which according to the programme notes is about pain, is attractively costumed and effectively lit (the dancers float against blackness) and at times perhaps even too decorous for its subject. It is at its strongest when the figure of the dancer on pointe emerges (Reynolds was a dancer with The Royal Ballet). After spinning across the stage, this ballet dancer (Emma Lister) acts her dizziness. Alex Newton, forceful in Anthony Kurt-Gabel’s ‘Frame’ the previous week, also performs both the muscular and sharply-defined or gentler movements of Reynolds’s choreography with conviction.

 ‘Decorous’ is not a word that could be used to describe the piece that followed. For You wave your dusty hands hello the stage was bare. Dancers and choreographers Mansoor Ali and Ellen Johansson skipped in circles around it to a recording of Django Reindhart, wearing clothes that looked like the first that had come to hand. To begin with, the audience was puzzled but interested by this performance that was more like a choreographed anti-performance. However, an invitation to two people in the front row to join in was not accepted. The dancers sat on the floor, resting against each other’s raised knees. The taller, bigger Johansson cuddled Ali like a mother, or lay covering him with her body. The audience continued to be puzzled, but perhaps less interested, as both dancers performed solos, then movements which resembled mock fighting and martial arts. There was a sense of relief as they went back to skipping for the final moments of the piece. ‘I loved it. That was brilliant!’ a man in the row in front of me said, afterwards, to the people he was with. By his tone of voice he acknowledged that someone else could just as easily have said, ‘I hated it. That was awful!’

Pace, by B-Hybrid Dance, starts with a woman in a grey shirt and grey leggings moving sideways on to the stage using only her heels and the balls of her feet. Five other dancers follow, making the same movement (as if on conveyor belts) but at different speeds. It is a bold, exhilarating opening to a piece in which choreographer Brian Gillespie contrasts consistently interesting arrangements of all six dancers (movements of the head included) with duets that involve only the legs or the arms (for this the two dancers are seated on chairs). Pace is maintained as different styles (among them breakdance and techno) are employed. The piece slows down again, satisfyingly, at the end as the first dancer makes her arduous exit.

John O’Dwyer