My Dust Will Tell, by former Rambert dancer Estela Merlos, hovers on the cusp between schematic and dramatic. On one hand, you all but see the underpinning storyboard: Merlos borne like a Calvary cross by Piedad Albarracín Séiquer; spiralling symmetries as the pair echo each other; a frantic solo by Séiquer; solace from Merlos; departure. The live music (by R. Enrique González) parallels the sequence exactly: indistinct noise, growing density, rising pulse, falling melody, silence. On the other hand, the clarity of intent, the deep torsion and tension of the dancing – especially Séiquer’s searing solo – lift the work above the studious and into the realm of theatre.
Recurrent tics suggest attempts to flee unseen phantoms, or shake off unwanted thoughts.
In Achilles II, fellow Spaniard Joan Clevillé (formerly of Scottish Dance Theatre) also lays personal drama over an underlying frame. Six floor lamps fitfully illuminate different angles on Clevillé himself: here he lies prone and trembling; there he shadow-boxes with his own silhouette; there he arches like a frightened cat. Recurrent tics suggest attempts to flee unseen phantoms, or shake off unwanted thoughts. If the intent is obscure the structure is clear, and Clevillé’s powerful performance holds its own against the placating violin accompaniment. Not, though, against his own costume: big gold glitterpants that overwhelm and undermine the drama at every turn.
Jayne Port’s Most Certainly Well Worth Knowing is a light-hearted series of sketches on the connection between words and movements. A mixed bag of dancers perform to narrations of offbeat news items (“Vet Shoots Zookeeper in Gorilla Suit”, “The Top 10 Sandwich Fillings”). Sometimes the relation is direct (we get the gorilla), sometimes it’s a sight-gag (spoke-like arms for the word “spokesman”), sometimes it’s in the rhythm and sometimes, surely, there’s just no connection. At their best, these skits are snappy and surreal, like the woman meaningfully miming to a story about painting the underside of a fox yellow. Others are am-dram, like the pair of scouts bumbling to voiceovers about navigation. A bit hit and miss, then. Like words. Like movement.