And so, though they're actually called Gabrielle Nankivell and Juni Konjar, I came to think of them as Red Sonja and Arnie.
She’s flame-haired and leggy, in furry boots. He’s a shaggy-haired hulk with ripped abs. And so, though they’re actually called Gabrielle Nankivell and Juni Konjar, I came to think of them as Red Sonja and Arnie. Imagine them in a breezy road movie in which they tour Spain, declare their love, break for a picnic, argue, and change their raggedy rainbow clothes when and where they can – and you get a flavour of their piece The Right Mistakes. The Slovenia-based duo are great movers, tumbling and freewheeling across the floor like thistledown, casually mixing capoeira and contact improvisation with some wonderfully wacky salsa. It’s enough to give you itchy feet. Though the piece doesn’t really take them anywhere – they end up just bopping about – it’s well worth the ride.
Sinman Dance Company’s limpid Talking Feather uses traditional Chinese dance as a base. The four perfomers, in pastel green, evoke a delicate and not too literal picture of birdlife: curving torsos and undulating arms flecked by twitches and tremors, folding and unfurling paper fans like tailfeathers. In the final section especially, choreographer Sin Man Yue shows a sure instinct for composition, but then ends weakly with a fadeaway. The piece is more decorative than substantial; changing the blandly pleasant music might give it more peck.
No such complaint for Distance is a Virtue, which features live music by plucky rock trio The Edmund Fitzgerald. Mariusz Raczynski and Emmeline Harris are an aloof, remote couple. He’s buttoned-up and wearing a tie; she snakes her head to left and right as if scanning for an exit. A film of the same dance plays behind them, slightly out of phase with the live action so that – just like the couple on stage – you can’t really tell who’s leading who. As the image pixellates and fractures, it actually seems more animated than the live couple, even when they’re gesticulating in a wild but ineffectual argument. The piece ends pretty much where it began. And there’s a curious thing: none of the three works ends with a resolution.