Denzil Barnes’ Footsteps is a frustrating piece, even though the nine dancers perform with considerable commitment and the choreography feels driven with intent. Using a blend of jazz, modern and African dance, Barnes has the dancers criss-crossing the stage, meshing into lineups, clumping into choruses, or splintering into brief solos and duets. There are some striking ideas – a sudden canon that scatters the dancers like spray, or two dancers rebounding against a wall of backs. But these effects are lost in the unremittingly busy choreography, and smoothed out by the score, an easy-on-the-ear mixture of new age and world music.
Rohanna Eade’s solo Running Through You (by Eade and Bryony Perkins) begins with an odd assemblage of moves: wobble-limbed walks, a pose with an outstretched arm, backward slides. Then she explains what they represent: eating spaghetti bolognese, a loved one, beating a retreat. At first merely diverting, this game of mix and match between meaning and movement soon grows into something more. Eade bops to Prince, tells us about losing her nan, her dad, her hairgrips; she lists likes and dislikes, flits around to Tracey Chapman and Joni Mitchell. The portrait she builds is a funny, poignant and above all matter-of-fact collage in which love and spaghetti get equal attention. Running Through You has a light touch that can cut right through to your heart.
Filio Louvari’s I See You! is about relativity. Apparently. Simos Patieridis tells us how Einstein’s theory affects perception, and hence performance itself. Didn’t understand a word. Instead, I saw a piece not about relativity, but relationship. Louvari and Patieridis are often in different worlds – he pontificating at his laptop, she emoting against a screened sea. They seem to come together only when they slow-dance to melancholy folk melodies. Despite a surfeit of surreal scenarios and portentous poetry, the piece is redeemed by its unexpectedly affecting ending, the performers sitting with the audience to watch the empty chairs they’ve left behind.