Resolution review 16 Jan 2016: Philp, Pirenaika, Spoken Movement

Jack Philp Company: Psychoacoustic
Pirenaika Dance: Calle Leganitos
Spoken Movement: Family Honour

In a way, Psychoacoustic offered a checklist of we’ve come to expect from contemporary dance: electronic music, projections of urban landscapes and the occasional dab of twitchy movement. None of which is necessarily to be deplored, per se; and some of which might very well have been more interesting to watch, had any of what Jack Philp was attempting on his three engaging female dancers been made apparent and visible to the audience. Instead we were offered choreography that, although at times inventive, interesting and refreshingly free from the current zeitgeist of dance movement vocabulary, did little to hide the apparent lack of solid conceptual ideas.

Resolutely movement-based, Oihana Vesga Bujan’s Calle Leganitos happily zipped along to the sound of a Mozart Adagio, Allegro and Rondo, interspersed with occasional moments of silence. The two very able women of the duet stomped and slid their way through often nicely phrased Alston-esque choreography, breezily and playfully shifting between unison and counterpoint. As assured and pleasant as this was for the most part, certain elements — an unfurling of and dancing on a green carpet, recordings of Victor Borge bookending the piece, some slightly ropey music editing which distracted from the choreography — offered little in the way of meaning and muddled the whole.

More twitchy choreography (a go-to dynamic for expressing angst in modern times, it seems) in Family Honour, which was to be the most focused work of the evening. In a solo featuring spoken-word (one section was particularly reminiscent of the prison scene in Lloyd Newson’s John) and pure movement, Asafo-Ajei tackled the themes of slavery, family and identity, and managed, despite a somewhat histrionic performance, a couple of stirring moments. The integration of street dance into the movement was handled in interesting ways and did much to save a work which, although ultimately suffered from trying to say too much in too little time, showed heart, craft and conviction.

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