Sat 15 Feb
Akiko Dance Project Okuni
Moxie Brawl It Started with Jason…Donovan
Just Us Dance Theatre I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inner strength
Moxie Brawl forcefully stole the limelight tonight at the Place, demanding a standing ovation. Millions could watch this performance as a sketch show on TV because of Sarah Blanc’s audacity and confidence, turning the audience into 100s of Jason Donovans and Kylie Minogues. It Started with Jason…Donovan tears apart heartbreak and shouts that there is life after love. With audience participation, step pull changes and circular springs Moxie Brawl gives a gutsy performance that should be put on tour! She looks back at her love life in comparison to lyrics from 80s/90s pop music, giving lessons on how to deal with getting over your first love, not being too keen and the outcomes of online dating. Blanc has produced a brilliantly honest work.
Just Us Dance Theatre presents such delicate and flowing qualities, alongside stamping feet and screams from three women, who demonstrate such ferocity that would leave Beyoncé Knowles quivering in her boots. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inner strength is a quote from Anne Frank, written in her diary, and these women truly encapsulate a woman’s subtlety and purity whilst retaining strength – successfully meeting the description provided by the programme note. The female collective pop and interrupt flowing rhythms, building up tension. A subtle smile comes across their faces, finding closure and realising their strength. Joseph Toonga brings a dramatic end to Resolution! 2014.
Unfortunately Akiko Dance Project was not up to scratch with the other two pieces. Seeming like more of a pantomime in a community hall than a piece of performance art from emerging choreographers, Okuni fails to impress. Surrounding Kabuki – traditional Japanese dance theatre, the subject matter may not be familiar to the average audience member, even with the parody conversations that slightly guided the narrative. Akiko Dance Project could learn a thing or two from Moxie Brawl, although the dance film, which breaks up the action, was a refreshing break from the repetitive solos and amateur acting.