The choreographer Charles Linehan doesn’t do action, thrills or special effects. Grand Junction (2002), a small-scale work that accumulates a powerful but understated intensity, shows Linehan at his best. For much of the piece, the two dancers, Andreja Rauch and Greig Cooke, remain almost oblivious to each other’s presence, as isolated as the pools of light in which they first appear. She is careful, tidy, timid; he broader and more fluid. They trip and twist around their own limbs, at odds not only with each other, but with themselves. Their eventual contact is almost incidental, as if they are drawn together not by desire or intent, but by circumstance. The final duet is a skilfully crafted miniature, their undemonstrative gestures suggesting, without ever stating, the complexity of the relationship. Pushes, tugs and falls come to symbolise the small evasions, demands and obstructions of two people who find that the closer they become, the harder it gets. On the surface, there is nothing grand about this junction, but Linehan evokes a forceful emotional undertow with a rare economy of means.
evokes a forceful emotional undertow with a rare economy of means
Disintegration Loops is in some ways an elaboration of Grand Junction, set to another quietly thrumming score. Rauch and Cooke again open the piece, later joined by Rahel Vonmoos and then Ben Ash. Each entrance displaces another dancer from the stage, the whole work appearing as a series of duets linked by trios. The saturated light provides a warmer ambience than the earlier work, and the movement range and dynamics are certainly more varied, particularly in Vonmoos and Ash’s sharp and shifty duet – yet it never quite attains the concentrated interior energy of Grand Junction. If Linehan’s less-is-more approach is too reticent and unflashy to garner a broad public appeal, this programme nevertheless shows him as one of our classiest choreographers.