Sat 18 Jan
Suse Tietjen Brother of Sleep
Lucy Palmer Dance Company Scratch Mark
Ishaan De Banya and Kenny Wing Tao Ho Casting Shadows
The evening kicked off percussively with a live band accompanying Suse Tietjen’s choreography in Brother of Sleep. If flailing limbs and backbends were meant to communicate the suicide of musician, Johannes Elias Alder, then this seemed absent to the string of half-naked dancers. They instead carefully reacted to the trills of the clarinet, thudding to the floor in moments of silence. However, credit is due to Joshua Gill for his performance. During one particular solo of his the rest of the ensemble cautiously approach his curiously writhing body. Gill ended the story with a euphoric expression on his face, as if passing away, a possible representation of Alder.
Tonight was the night for Roehampton University, yet another alumni showcased their work, following Tietjen. Lucy Palmer Dance Company presented Scratch Mark, which apparently conveyed deep emotion in the form of yearning looks and generic moves that may be more suited to a technique class. The electronically synthesized sound score pounded and whizzed to a steady beat, resulting in the dancers becoming slaves to counts. In unison, their bodies were flinging across the floor, before stumbling to a full stop. Jules Shapter lit and composed the music with an intelligence that made me want to see more of the golden pools of light, which began and ended the piece.
Roehampton’s parade came to an end with the collaboration of Ishaan De Banya (Richard Alston Dance Company) and Kenny Wing Tao Ho (Protein Dance). Their playful duet had an essence of capoeira competitiveness. With an air of increasing hostility towards each other the pair were fixated by the way they were whirring around like spinning tops. When focus was lost they reset to a position of peace, facing each other, with one arm overlapping the other. Circling round, intoxicating rhythms escaped their auras. Fluidity was interrupted by sharp judders in their torsos, expelling energy to a dramatic soundtrack by Chris Edwards. Serenity overtook the pair, sending tranquility outwards as the night came to a close.