Dena Lague’s Gestus is not jazz dance, but a kind of jazz in dance form. At first, an onstage saxophonist mooches away while a woman in black correspondingly mooches in movement: swishy turns, a staccato foot tremor, a little run. A pianist accompanies a woman in red, leading to duos for both instrumentalists and dancers. Three more women skitter by like a broken chord. It’s as smooth, lulling and passing as dinner jazz. Then a drumbeat enters and the work snaps into tauter gear, each dancer riffing in the central spot as the others scatter around her. There’s no dramatic impetus, but watching such spatial harmonics in action is both absorbing and stimulating.
Actreo. Tom Lyall dangles a bunch of crimson bobbles and stares at a big box. There is birdsong. Cut. Selina Papoutseli teeters inside a ring of twigs, holding a twig. More teetering. There are rattles, creaks, chords. Cut. Lyall sidles by at snail’s pace, bearing box and bobbles. Cut. Papoutseli torques slowly to the ground. Cut. Lyall does weird-out things with his shoulderblades. Let’s just cut to the quick. One: the most arresting things on stage are the props, and they are sorely neglected. Two: Actreo seems to aim at mystical meaning and succeeds in being mystifying.
She teases with some not-quite stripteases
Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot’s Vertigos also veers close to solipsism, but with odd sparks of wit and wonder. Thiriot is our tour guide (a stand-in for the real one, she says). She takes a trip round a pile of red clothes. She teases with some not-quite stripteases. She does some scat-singing, some pogoing. At the work’s confessional heart she speaks to a fluorescent light, recalling someone’s voice, a train platform… A guide? She was wandering inside her head and I was lost. Still, the final scene will stay with me: lumpen laundry sacks swinging aimlessly over an empty stage while a recording of Georgian folksinger Hamlet Gonashvili fills the air with sublime, soul-piercing sorrow.