Stefanie Batten Bland and the Company Squall
Ikky Maas, Peter Babbage and the Company A Place Between
Dog Kennel Hill Project Hold on, Let me go
A versatile, triple bill of works from three international choreographers and assisted by a company of twelve emerging dancers, who are completing their MAs in Performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. A lot is immediately expected from a training institution of such reputation and calibre, but we are left expecting more, even with a repertoire that covers all areas of the contemporary dance scene.
Bland’s choreography opens this evening with a deliciously dark and rich work. The dancers seem to be in a state of delirium and a hypnotic sound score, composed by Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and Arhun Bhamra sucks us into this sombre landscape. A dreamy ambience comes alive as three dancers surf on top of piles of bodies, trying to stay afloat after a storm has destroyed all in its path, an image that the title, Squall, suggests. Lost in this illusion of terror Bland and company could have worked to smooth out the edges and lose some of the lacklustre moments. Nevertheless it is a juicy, gripping piece.
Following this mysterious world we suddenly enter a Cunninghamesque realm, with a balletic dimension that goes hand in hand. Half of the company appear in tightly clad green outfits, looking like they are emerging from a rainforest as a couple hang on to each other with a brightly coloured rope. All that is missing is David Warhol’s silver pillows from Cunningham’s own Rainforest. Competitive relationships form as four women fight over two men. This forest environment could be on an island of Amazonian women, trying to dominate these men. The six dancers form long, elegant lines but it becomes apparent that some of these dancers may not be as technically magnificent as the others, as they fly through the space and form linear patterns.
Completing this evening and transporting us to the freedom that dance theatre brings, Dog Kennell Hill Project creates a satirical and humorous work on the company, presenting hilarious images of sexuality and slightly bizarre cultural references. Parinay Mehra, who grew up in Deli, India seems to be charmingly, taming a snake, alongside three women who ooh and ahh pretending to be in a girl band. These different identities collide as they fall onto each other in a heap. However, much of this display is lost as too much is going on and they somehow end up congregating behind a large curtain. There are too many brilliant ideas that do not cohere.
The dancers carry themselves throughout the three pieces with professionalism and show off their range as dance artists. Although, it is clear where each performer’s strengths lie. Those in Transitions 2014 have the tenacity and charisma that could lead them onto a prosperous career, but perhaps they need some more moulding.