United Kingdom Resolution! 2015: Lo-Giudice Dance, Salah El Brogy Company, #PPL Dance, The Place, London, 13.01.2015 (J.O’D)
The Teeth Behind The Kisses
Choreography: Anthony Lo-Giudice
Performers: Shelly Brettle, Molly Hodkinson, John Kendell, James Southward
Collaborator: Hector De Gregorio
Music: Wardruna: InwarR, Loydomsriss, Heimta Thurs, Thurs, Helvegen
Director, Choreographer: Salah El Brogy
Collaboration and Performed by: Jordan Ajadi, Salah El Brogy, Dang Hai Dao, Michael Kelland, Nicola Migliorati
Video Artists: Lisa Fischer and Carine Koleilat (Blue Fox Productions)
Photography: Jane Hobson
A Kid That Grows Up
Artistic Directors: Dani Harris-Walters, Sia Gbamoi
Performers: Martha Carangi, Hattie Grover, Dani Harris-Walters, Chloe Jones, Kane Lang, Beccy McTaggart, Lauren Merrit, Dayyaan Nordien
Music: Woodkidd: Towers, The Golden Age feat, Max Richter’s Embers, Run Boy Run (Ostend Remix), Conquest of Spaces, I Love You Dimlite, Remix for Chapelier Fou Valgeir Sigurdsson: The Crumbling
With works by eighty-four emerging dance artists to choose from in The Place’s Resolution! 2015, I opted first for the press night and hoped to strike lucky. The brochure that accompanies the festival shows a ‘time line’. Arrows point from it to the names of artists who have taken part in previous years: Russell Maliphant, Wayne McGregor, Arthur Pita, Charlotte Vincent, Jasmin Vardimon. Work by these choreographers is now shown on the larger stages of Sadler’s Wells, Southbank Centre and the Royal Opera House. And there is always the chance, in this platform for new dance, of seeing interesting work by a choreographer who, for whatever reason, does not go on to be bankable.
The triple bill began with The Teeth Behind The Kisses, by Anthony Lo-Giudice in collaboration with the artist Hector De Gregorio. Lo-Giudice, part of whose training was at The Royal Ballet School, gives his four dancers a balletic vocabulary of upright body, extended arms and legs. But in his use of ‘contact work’ he also has a female dancer lead a male partner about the stage by his thumb, which she holds in her mouth. Elsewhere the dancers spin like dervishes, or support each others’ heads with their hands. Beginning mid-movement, the piece is fast, rapidly-changing, effectively lit and costumed, and is danced to a powerful score of ‘ancient pagan nordic runes’. Though the audience cheered the other two works in the programme more loudly, my money would be on Anthony Lo-Giudice as the evening’s bankable choreographer.
In Luca Silvestrini’s Border Tales at The Place last year, Salah El Brogy was the dancer who seemed least concerned about making the audience and the other dancers sympathise with, or like, the character he played. His company’s The Race (‘A personal observation of humanity’s ugly side’) comes with a warning in the programme of ‘graphic images and content that some audiences may find disturbing or highly upsetting’. These relate to cannibalism, in its literal form and as the ultimate expression of capitalism’s greed.
The images, projected on to a screen at the back of the stage, disturb. Salah El Brogy includes filmed interviews and passages of text that paint a bleak picture of both the present and the future. They are a present and future about which the choreographer seems to care. Strange, then, that the movement of the five male dancers that goes with this tends to the light and the decorous. With the exception perhaps of El Brogy himself, whose gestures can be fierce, what we are always looking at is five, bare-chested and rather beautiful men who almost seem not to want to get a hair out of place. So beautiful, in fact, that one male member of the audience, in the interval that followed, wrote ‘I’m hungry for men’ about this piece on the wall for comments in the bar.
After a performance in the foyer of a short work that had been made up by members of the audience and four sparkly dancers from EDge (The Place’s post-graduate company), the evening ended with A Kid That Grows Up by #PPL Dance. A piece of hip-hop dance-drama with an interesting inclusion of fairy tale elements, this is too complex for its approximately twenty-five minute length. But it is performed with musicality and synchronised energy by a company that ranges in age from fifteen to twenty-one. In its repetition of certain sequences, the choreography becomes poetic, and several of the dancers stand out as dancer-actors of promise. Perhaps #PPL Dance is bankable, too. Perhaps all three of the evening’s companies are. Time will tell.