Platforms for emerging artists are often required to jettison coherence in favour of choreographic diversity. The stylistic lurches between pieces can leave you a little seasick, but sometimes you’re rewarded with a surprise. The Linbury’s three-day Exposure programme is no exception, cramming four works plus a different guest piece into each evening. The first half feels more worthy than rewarding. In Handspun, Ilona Jäntti winds and twists around hanging ropes, sometimes directly echoing the pizzicato pluck and strung-out scales of the cello played on stage by Louise McMonagle, sometimes clawing up or abseiling down like a spinning spider-woman. Luke Styles’s score is packed with tonal and dynamic variety, but the dance is more atmospheric than substantial, and stretched very thin.
Gary Clarke’s 2 Men & a Michael is a deadpan double act for Tom Roden and Pete Shenton. On paired chairs, suited but trouserless, they go through the motions of entertaining their audience, using deliberately slender means: snapping fingers, pat-a-cake games, hammy mime and shadowplay. Roden and Shenton are pretty good at being pretty bad (an under-appreciated skill), but the piece takes a long time to hit its stride. By contrast, Boy Blue’s snippets of krumping, locking and wacking feel squeezed into the guest slot, like out-takes rather than a piece of choreography.
Things look up in the second half. Alexander Whitley’s Mythos/Logos is a dark but polished little number that thrums with undercurrents of disaffection and alienation. Two woman and a man meet and match, slip and scatter in restless, ribbony tangles; Whitley seems to know that, emotionally as well as choreographically, threesomes are more complex, perplexing configurations than couples. And finally, the big surprise: Jorge Crecis’s 36, in which 12 performers pass, catch, dodge and slalom around 36 water bottles, in an exhilarating mashup of dance, sport and maths that raises your pulse and confounds your brain.