Resolution review 18 Feb 2016: Nikki, .2Dot, AGITART

Nikki & JD: Le Lien
.2Dot: Queen and Queer
Companyia AGITART: Dust

“Muscular” would be one way to describe Le Lien, a duet merging acrobatics and a sinewy choreographic play of touching, pulling and giving weight in often spectacular quasi-circus fashion. In the most promising piece I’ve seen at Resolution this year, Nikki & JD achieve a remarkable balance between the thrills of acrobatics and the intimacy of (dance-) theatre. The virtuosic aspects of the performance are underscored by a number of dialogues and tirades, in which the two performers speak in simple terms of their working relationship. These scenes contain the emotional core of the piece, and the odd, superfluous choreographic aerial and occasional mugging for laughs do little to detract from the authenticity of what really drives the work: a touching relationship staged with elegance and sensitivity.

Queen and Queer kicks off in a striking manner: an assortment of dismembered mannequins and a naked, inert man await us onstage as we enter the auditorium; before long, Manny Queen, in full drag, parades onto the stage and begins to lip-sync to what seems like the start of a premise. But as she struts her way through wigs, pouting, posing and shaving, meaning becomes lost. I wanted to be offended, amused or intrigued, but I wasn’t sure how.

In Dust, four dancers in a pile slowly begin to writhe and undulate in a sequence that goes almost uninterrupted for twenty minutes. This mish-mash of occasionally percussive choreoraphy probably finds it roots somewhere between flying low and Hofesh Shechter, which influences both serve and defeat the work. It helps that the choreography feels seamless, and it serves a structural whole; it’s a problem that the language feels too easy, i.e. of the kind you’d almost find in a dance technique class. All of which ultimately gives the impression that any work of pure movement dreads: the dull sensation of watching algorithmic dance, a musical screensaver that moves fluidly but without identity.

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