Two women share a room with a TV, CD players, a plant, a plate, and about 10 bags of shopping. They tidy up, watch TV, check their nails, grab forkfuls of food – often at the same time – and witter on about Bruce Willis’s age, Safeway and Asda, and what Guy Fawkes Night is all about. The lofty title of Alana Jones and Francesca McCoid’s duet is Action is the Enemy of Thought. True, there are serious themes buried beneath its clutter and chatter – consumerism, inconsequentiality, the idle distraction of our lives – but mostly it is merely mildly diverting, of no great consequence.
The contemplative style is mixed with charming gestures: a slow sidelong glance; blowing air from one cheek to another; a foot placed edgewise, toes wiggling like tadpoles.
Soap Box, four dancers from Northern Contemporary Dance School, belie their company name: far from trying to grab our attention, their low-key, airy piece Bizarre Interludes refreshingly lets us see simply what we will. There’s a T’ai Chi feel to the movement, enhanced by the chiming pentatonic music that opens the work. The contemplative style blends easily with soft rolls and light jumps, mixed with charming miniature gestures: a slow sidelong glance; blowing air from one cheek to another; a foot placed edgewise, toes wiggling like tadpoles. The dancers slip easily between different groupings, and sometimes simply sit and watch. Special mention goes to Tom Stupple’s captivating score, mostly live percussion and guitar. Only in a section to recorded music does the piece drift; otherwise it’s a real pleasure.
The Boo Project is another company of four dancers, graduates from Central School of Ballet. Choreographer Christopher Marney is currently dancing the Prince in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – the influence shows in the birdwing arms, knotty jumps and twisty shoulders of Green Belt. Two couples lean and tilt to liturgical choral music within oblongs of green light that mark their territory. Then they break out across the stage in articulate flurries of steps and leaps with long unfurlings of their limbs, peeling in and out of contact with each other to the skeletal janglings of Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre. Apt: well-danced though Green Belt is, its drama lacks flesh and blood.