We revisit the highlights of an eclectic season of international and home-grown dance at The Place’s Summer House Season, which drew to a close last week.
It can be touch and go watching a choreographer's work for the first time but finding a gem like Animal Lost makes sitting through every dubious effort worthwhile. In this work Yossi Berg and Oded Graf remind us of the unique possibilities of dance. Dancers in animal heads stretch and bounce off each other, evoking the nutty ways people behave; the repression, the neediness and the sex - a gripping dance piece immersed in social clichés and illusion. The speech is wacky yet astute, and as intricately choreographed as the strikingly original movement, by turn brutal, then diaphanous, but always gorgeous.
Meanwhile in Winter Guests by Alan Lycien Oyen, exquisite dancer Daniel Proietto performed sublime ballet and contemporary infused solos in a sophisticated interplay between film and dance. Depicting the shared life and love of German choreographer Dieter Geier and his muse, Augusto Garcia, the piece follows their feverish, consuming and dependent relationship: a tender and tense tightrope walk of a dance, performed by Garcia with mature strength, but also the casual easiness of a child.
Striking an equally glorious balance between the hilarious and the hard-hitting, Bloom!’s work, City, is a wonderfully silly statement of identity in the big smoke. Packed with personality, quirky gestural movement and a charming set of dancers, it explores how we perceive others through a series of comedic duets, distressing discrimination and identity filled solos.
Whilst terrorizing their audience with a much darker comment on society, Rootlessroot express their disturbed discontent through a torrent of violent movement performed with outstanding energy. Their work, Eyes in the Colours of the Rain is a feast of vision and sound aiming for the shock factor.
Disconcerting, circus trained Clement Layes continued a theme of social commentary taking a satirical look at society’s make-up whilst balancing a glass of water on his head in his solo Allege. Jocundly, Itamar Serussi Sahar brought a breath of dancing-for-dancing’s-sake fresh air with their work Ferrum; a diversion of stylistic movement.
From touch and go to ‘Touch Wood’: in the altogether snugger (and no-doubt terrifying for the choreographer) setting of the dance studio, audiences are treated to the intimate experience of artists in action. Varying from the ‘nearly there’ to the ‘barely begun’, highlights of the ‘Touch Wood’ season have included founding member of DV8, Nigel Charnock’s, masterful monologue with not a dance move in sight and Seke Chimutengwende's work in progress; in which seven very clever dancers chatted, shouted and shrieked their way through inventive movement, overcoming the challenge of purposeful randomness with aplomb.
Bare bodies, animal suits and William Blake; that's quite a season.
By Jemma Bicknell and Jennifer Teale
Check out The Place website for their autumn performance schedule, including new choreography from Rambert dancers and Dance Umbrella.