My god, this couple has issues. Will they resolve them? Not likely. Intensity is their kick. In Rosting, Swedish choreographer Emilia Adelöw sets Guro Rimeslåtten and Vebjörn Sundby in a darkened room strewn with chairs. Even when seated they thrash and flail. When they’re up, they twist and spasm wildly, their bodies alternately racked and reined in. He pushes her onto a chair, then hurdles over it; she gives as good as she gets, with fierce jumps and whiplash spins. Like a fibrillating hearbeat, the racy pulse of the music hammers into repeated crescendos.
They may be gagging for it, but they make damn sure that giving out does not mean giving in.
Suddenly they move off to one side for a long, claustrophobic duet that suggests sex while maintaining a charged sense of mistrust. They may be gagging for it, but they make damn sure that giving out does not mean giving in. The music slows and softens, almost tipping the piece into cliché – as if this were the obligatory snog scene in a psychological thriller – but the performers’ focus through these cycles of attraction and repulsion burns its own indelible mark onto this potent work.
There can be no greater contrast than A sort of kind, a limpid, impressionistic solo by Rachel Lopez, danced with captivating introspectiveness by Henrietta Hale. She sidles backwards on all fours, limbs tripping over each other as she glances about, like a furtive animal learning to walk. A rotating mobile of bird-like shapes casts dappled shadows across her body. Then, arms outstretched and chest lifted, she runs in an ungainly circle as if her fragile, awkward body were imagining what it might be to fly. It’s a vague, vaporous piece that inhabits a delicate and rarefied atmosphere.
If Hale is a grounded creature who flies in her dreams, the five performers in Suzannah West’s Vent are cuckoos in a nest. They constantly block and nudge each other, fighting for elbow room and hogging their own space, clustering into pushy groups and scrums. There are plenty of good ideas here, but they’re too readily dropped for yet another change of scene, the choreographer trying too hard to sustain the length of the piece while lacking the confidence to explore it in greater depth. That in itself would be less of a problem if the dancers had greater presence. Perhaps they’re merely under-rehearsed, but in general they’re too blank to impart punch to the piece. Combative they may be, with their knotty duels setting head to hip and shoulder to knee. But, hand on heart, it was hard to care.