Nothing. Will. Ever. Happen. So states a series of placards in Valentina and the Fish – and true, for an excruciatingly long time eight people simply sit and wait. When the action finally starts, it is mostly as deadpan and distracted as the inaction. The surreal man in a shark costume is as unremarkable as a corny duet to country and western music. More evocatively, a woman strokes her face and snags her clothes, as if in troubled remembrance of a lover’s touch. A section where the dancers combine and recombine a few motifs is a neat idea, but repeated to the point of distraction. Perhaps that is the point: what happens seems ultimately as inconsequential as nothing happening at all.
what happens seems ultimately as inconsequential as nothing happening at all
More inconsequential still is Petra Söör and Albert Quesada’s Döuing, which might equally be called The Same Things Keep Happening. It’s a game with few moves: a diagonal skip and chase; a pigeon-toed, foot-flicking sequence for her; some spaced-out arm-waving for him. House lights can be on or off. Overhead projector: on or off. Rehearsal tape of The Rolling Stones: on, or off. It’s rather arty and conceptual. Afterwards, Quesada even offers handouts of the dance ‘score’ by way of explanation. It reads like a complex but pointless computer algorithm. That figures: Döuing does feel like a kind of staged screensaver.
It’s down to choreographer Katie Green to show how much can be achieved with an idea and a few basic phrases. Daniela Larsen and Leon Smith spin and fold over each other, fluidly but with increasing ferocity. She pitches floorwards but is yanked back onto his shoulder, only to slip beneath his arm and spiral away. The couple flip restlessly between intimacy, reliance and contempt. Remarkably, their convoluted physical and emotional entanglements seem an entirely unforced consequence of the simple opening image, where they lean stiffly against each other in a combination of opposing weight and physical support. A meaningful, moving performance.