With its luxuriously embroidered costumes and ornamental fans, W@ver may look iridescent, but the piece itself is decidedly lacklustre. Choreographer Baoyin Hinh says it depicts a journey from heaven to earth. Granted, there’s a projected moon, mists, an angelic choir on the soundtrack. Baoyin undulates gracefully, her diaphanous pink fans fluttering like celestial jellyfish. Three other glistening women rather dutifully execute some mid-paced modern dance manoeuvres. The music quickens. The dancers don’t. There is an elusive stand-off between swathes of pink and blue fabric. Short and sweet? Undoubtedly. Decorative? Very. But heaven, earth? Hell, no.
Short and sweet? Undoubtedly. Decorative? Very. But heaven, earth? Hell, no.
Abi Cook’s The Edge of Words is an inventive and boldly conceived work, given a compelling performance by Elinor Baker. Mostly she faces away from us, her backless cocktail dress exposing the taut, twisting muscles of her shoulders. Her arms jab sideways and upwards simultaneously, they yank her head as they lash about her torso, or reach like tendrils towards a distant glow of light. She’s anxious, introspective, tugged about by her own limbs. The music begins with ominous, spluttering rhythms, then quietens to plaintive broken piano chords. The one wrong note in this otherwise excellent piece is the finale. Julie London sings ‘Cry Me a River’, and Baker’s gestures now match the words – a reassuringly easy correspondence that tames the wilder currents preceding it.
The first part of Verticil Productions’ Rapproach’ment, to Bach cello music, comprises short solos, duets and ensembles that show off the dancers’ leggy ballet technique – especially for the guys, in their loose tops and teeny trunks. The busy choreography doesn’t really gel until the closing group dance, an inventive composition which finally gets to grips with the musical phrasing. The second part, to Aphex Twin, suits its music better. It intercuts energetic live action with a film projection, a voyeuristic story of a woman and two men in a hotel room. It’s slick, rather sleazy entertainment.