The second mixed bill from Resolution! 2013 opens with La Típica’s Cambiar de Piel. This “Flamenco contemporary piece” is directed by Jose Vidal and choreographed by Natalia García-Huidobro, who performs with six musicians.

Resolution! 2013 © courtesy The Place, Photo Ben Johnson
Resolution! 2013
© courtesy The Place, Photo Ben Johnson

The piece builds slowly as the perfomers cross the space, meeting each other’s eyes and eventually taking their places. Once García-Huidobro starts dancing it really comes alive. The intense focus of percussionists Guy Schalom and Demi García Sabat is fantastic to watch, their eyes never leaving García-Huidobro as she stamps out complex rhythms in two pools of light. James Adams (guitar), Ulises Diaz (clapping), Javier Macias and Monooka (voice), together with the percussion section, create an atmospheric score which complements the flamenco without overpowering it.

Between the driving percussive rhythms, a softer duet between Romanian singer Monooka and García-Huidobro included some beautiful moments and a spectacular flamenco skirt. Cambiar de Piel’s strength lies in the connection between dancer and musicians, and the conviction of its performers.

Taragano Theatre’s Chrysalis (dance cut) is the story of “women’s path from birth, through childhood and up to the moment a woman realises that she is, in fact a woman and is in need of a man.” It begins with flautist Eva Caballero in a high-vis jacket and hard hat, whose head is turned by Natalie Rozarion (cello). Their duet ends in the “birth” of Taragano, whom we first see emerging from under a red cloth as a child learning to use her limbs for the first time.

As the piece continues, the musical accompaniment is sometimes integrated into the narrative – as a little girl with pigtails she is made to hold Caballero’s sheet music, and some of the music is improvised which shifts the balance between dancer and musicians slightly. Tunde Olasupo is the man she falls for, but although they are both very watchable performers the movement here is rarely as engaging as the opening “baby” sequence.

Sometimes There’s Light (Sometimes There’s Dark) opens with a striking composition – an angel; a figure with mask-like black and white facepaint; a bare-chested man; and a woman gazing into an empty fishtank, all gathered below a print of an Albinus skeleton etching. As the dancers move off into the space a pair of empty shoes remains beside the tank, both objects left without their inhabitants. Moving Dust have examined on our feelings towards death in the calm that follows after the shock or panic has subsided.

The dancers recite text reflecting on memories, mortality and the matter of the body continuing after death – “the molecules of my liver will float in front of the remains of my face.” Water imagery accompanies wave-like choreography. Hand-held lighting is used to highlight faces, usually while someone is speaking – a neat device which means the speakers can be seen wherever they are in the space and whatever the lighting state. I liked the visual effect of a “cast of characters” and there were some beautiful images, not least the short, feathered wings of the angel; but the movement was sometimes weaker than the overall concept.

Overall, an interesting combination of dance styles, live music and text. Resolution! continues with triple bills of new work until 15 February at The Place.

***11