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Resolution review at the Place, London – ‘innovative and unpredictable’

Elisabeth Schilling and Simone Mousset's in Impressing the Grand Duke at the Place, London. Photo: Bohumil Kostohryz
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This is the 28th edition of Resolution, the Place’s annual festival for contemporary dance.

Showing three pieces a night across the six week period, with much of the work created by artists in the early stage of their careers, variety is a given.

John Ross is one of the more well-known names to present work at this year’s festival. In They Never Were (★★★) voices of varying ages provide the soundtrack to a duet created by Ross and performer Nicole Guarino. There’s a great sincerity to the small entwined movements of their bodies and the support they offer one another. Each gesture is so clearly filled with thought.

Their actions appear exploratory, as if searching for the memories triggered by the voices, yet this gentle, considered work never quite provides an answer – a trait that is both intriguing and frustrating. Despite its initial uncertainty, it’s the inconclusiveness of this work that makes it succeed. In that there is a great humanity; something quiet and deeply touching.

Impressing the Grand Duke (★★★★) by Simone and Elisabeth offers something a little different. In contrast to the fluffy, pastel tulle costumes and the self-absorption of their characters, this is a refreshingly objective and tightly crafted work.

Racing through an array of choreographic devices Simone and Elisabeth attack the creative process and the challenge of establishing oneself as an artist with humour, flair and bold self-assessment. They make wry observations on the term ’emerging’ and the piece as a whole is stylish, fun and finely judged dance theatre.

Comedy also has a strong presence in this year’s Resolution programme. Taha Ghauri’s solo work, The Devil’s Workshop (★★★) weaves powerful, athletic movement sequences into a bold and bawdy monologue influenced by his contradictory experiences as a young Muslim man to create a provocative, funny – and daring – dance monologue.

A platform for ideas and experimentation, Resolution is a chance for many of the artists taking part to obtain feedback from an audience. Azara Meghie’s collaboration with The High Opinion Drums, Just Another Day (★★★), merges African rhythms with spoken word and urban movement. Simultaneously poetic and straight talking, her words offer an intriguing and thoughtful exposure on her experiences as an LGBTQI woman.

This year the festival is also showing works by Grad-Lab Dance and Rambert. Competitive Plasticity (★★★) is a short but fine-tuned piece where the dancers vie for each other’s space, their movement rapid and sinuous. The title refers to the brain’s ability to adapt and change – an interesting concept, if ultimately abstract in its relation to the piece.

In many ways it is the unexpectedness and variety of the line-up that makes Resolution. The vast array of work presented makes this one of the most exciting and unpredictable festivals of contemporary dance.

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An open space for experimentation, with work both innovative and unpredictable