Resolution 2017 is the 28th edition of the celebrated platform for emerging contemporary dance choreographers. With a different triple-bill every night for just over a month, Resolution provides a diverse contribution to the London arts scene which is innovative and encouraging, yet often very hit and miss, boasting both evenings of inspiration… and evenings that leave you a little less than satisfied.
The opening night of Resolution 2017 began with What is Written Dance Company’s work Awakening; an exploration of the common man being trapped in an oppressive exploitative society. A harsh, demanding atmosphere was undoubtedly created by the highly physical choreography including militaristic marching and audibly satisfying rhythmical stamping. The theme was perpetuated by the performers’ intense facial expressions and performativity, which affirmed their artistic commitment yet at times felt over-dramatised. The microcosmic, mechanical and detrimental society was evident… perhaps too evident as the explicit choreography left little room for covert metaphors and interpretation, relying mainly on phalanxes of unison. The symbol of the “tie” which was used to control and manipulate dancers like puppets, was an interesting layer, yet requires further development and clarity of intention to make it integral to the work.
The second work of the night began with dancer Valerie Ebuwa entering the stage to a cosmic soundscape, engaging the audience with an intense focus. She is later joined by Yu-Hsien Wu to begin an intriguing duet in which the dancers engage in close contact and flow over one another like an ongoing, gentle wave. The touch is sometimes hesitant until they eventually sink into each other’s arms. This aesthetically pleasing physical relationship appears to be the greatest success of Kuan-Yu Chen’s Trace Collector. The professed theme of “leaving parts of yourself behind” is loose and hard to impose upon the work, yet this is made up for by the original movement quality of the performers.
Maria Miguel Rodrigues’ (UN)ONES concluded the evening, asking the question “Can you be yourself in a group?” and explores similar themes to Awakening including uniformity, conformity and suppression. It is refreshing that this work introduces a filmic element of an introductory projection of abstracted, metamorphosing coloured lights, yet it feels disjointed from the choreography due to its lack of integration into the work, its presence acting as a mere visual prologue. Upon entrance, the performers accumulate in number and speed to form a shoal of fish curving around the stage. Individuals break out of the group to perform contrasting solos, yet the most visually satisfying moments are those in which the entire cast engage in quirky gestures arranged with choreographic techniques such as mirroring and unison.
Resolution always has the propensity to be a mixed bag, so it seems fitting that the opening night of 2017 reflected this fact. Its status as a festival for new choreography cements it as an opportunity for emerging choreographers to test their boundaries and discover what kind of artist they want to become – a process which requires both success and failure.
Resolution festival is a vital opportunity in the dance community that encourages audiences to try something new and to be challenged by new work by a generation finding their choreographic voices.
Resolution 2017 is a festival for emerging choreographers that runs until February 25 at The Place Theatre, London.