The premise of Satako Fukuda’s dance solo In the Middle of Nowhere is to explore the state between yes and no, the limbo of being neither here nor there. Accompanied by Simon McCorry’s electric cello score – lots of open-stringed harmonics and looped playback – Fukuda vacillates within a sidelight, swivels in curlicues within a spotlight, her fingers writing upon the air. At first she seems to spiral inside her own uncertainty; later, centripetal forces turn centrifugal, and she uncoils into more expansive arcs and tumbles that may be no less nebulous but are notably more willed. Throughout, there’s a slender poetry – that is, sometimes subtle, sometimes slight.
Marble Incarceration opens with Joshua Gillies and George Hicks in black underwear approaching a random pile of old clothes, which turns out to harbour a Cat Jones. She bursts out, they dive in to grab some clothes (white trackies both – coincidence?) and the three play out several portent-heavy scenarios of much hurtle, yank and thrash. I couldn’t help but think of this scenario not as the work itself, but as its metaphor: choreographers Gillies and Hicks rummaging for an elusive concept and contriving to wrestle, ostentatiously but fruitlessly, with what they find. It’s a bit of a jumble; a bit heavy-handed at that.
They could take a leaf from the book of BDblaq Dance’s BlaQish, another piece with two men (Ashley Goosey, Dominic Haynes), one woman (Ayten Goksan) and a concept. Here, the work hits home through restraint and focus. At first they’re lined up one behind the other, while a gospel voice and chorus rises around them. For a while not much happens, but it’s enough: they know how to hold a moment. Using a deft meld of hip-hop, contemporary and tap dance, the piece plays out by superimposing the earthbound and the aspirational. Each dancer recites a personal confession, while their bodies flicker with the struggle it takes to speak out – before that gospel voice rises again, melding inspiration with lament. I saw this company at last year’s Resolution; this year, they seem to have really levelled up.