Resolution 2018 review at the Place, London – ‘a vital platform for artists’

Elisabeth Schilling's Sixfold. Photo: Bohumi Kosthoryz

Resolution is the Place’s annual festival for dance. Open to artists at any stage of their career and with a focus on new work, it’s a platform designed for experimentation. Each performance typically includes three new pieces.

Elisabeth Schilling’s Sixfold would be equally at home in an art gallery as on stage. From behind a dappled moon-like orb her bare limbs explore the darkness. When she finally emerges her body remains small and hunched, muscles vibrating. It’s a quiet and slow burning work, but the intensity of her performance holds great resonance.

The same evening showcased Malcolm Sutherland’s duet, Lost for Words. Dimly lit and with a brooding soundtrack, the work’s tense atmosphere is heightened by the sense of disconnect between the dancers’ movement and their interaction with each other. Gestural actions, scattered through the work, offer a fleeting insight to their thoughts. In a short piece, Sutherland achieves a great sense of depth, both physically and figuratively, and performers Jade Brider and Davidson Jaconello dance their roles with sensitivity and conviction.

Becky Namgauds's Like Honey. Photo: Marso Riviere
Becky Namgauds’s Like Honey. Photo: Marso Riviere

One of the appeals of Resolution is its variety, from contemporary to hip hop, from the surreal to the political commentary.

Mum. Edit. More, devised and performed by Shanelle Tali Fergus, sets snapshots of movement to an interview recorded with a former resident of Brixton. A carefully constructed work, Fergus’ understated approach makes an honest and emphatic statement upon the effects of gentrification.

A distinct style emerges from Imbeciles Dance Theatre. In One Eye Open a somewhat prim woman narrates from the comfort of her floral armchair, words streaming from her, her voice somewhere between that of Mary Poppins and a scheming politician. This contrasts with the loose-limbed, relaxed movement of the dancers.

The overall tone is one of mock-seriousness. The clownish movement distracts from the more poignant moments. These repeated shifts between humour and sincerity can feel chaotic but, on the whole, this is a cleverly layered work.

The closing week featured the performance of Like Honey, a solo work by upcoming choreographer Becky Namgauds. From the floor upwards, sound and movement grow in response to one another, the expansive vocals of Yael Claire drawing minute isolations of movement from dancer Amanda Pefkou’s body.

As Pefkou finds her feet, a challenge to the audience flashing in her eyes, a stream of menstrual blood is figuratively shed and her restrained movement breaks into a fierce, earthy style. Like Honey is a bold work from Namgauds that blossoms into a defiant image of femininity.

Resolution offers a much-needed space for artists to experiment and develop their ideas. This can result in an often unpredictable programme, and the work is as varied in quality as it is in style, but it’s that element of the unexpected that makes this festival stand out.

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

The Place’s festival for new and experimental dance is often unpredictable, but it’s a vital platform for new artists