Nylon Theatre, Public Displays of Affection
The MyNewt Project, Time Stands Still When I Think Of You
Yukiko Masui, Interval
Subtle glances, smiles and stares ignite a playful sequence of movement in Nylon Theatre’s Public Displays of Affection. One dancer isolated, she looks on as two others unravel a ‘boy meets girl’ scene opposite her. She imitates hand holding and embraces, fumbling desperately about the space trying to hold on to something that just isn’t there. Ideas of solitude are evident so the interjection of speech as the dancers ask about loneliness seems unnecessary. The absence of the fourth billed dancer to this work may explain how at times the work fails to rise to expectation; possessing all the ingredients for a great short piece, the elements just don’t quite sit together in the end.
Circles and squares of light create bases for five solo choreographies in Time Stands Still When I Think of You, a work performed together for the first time this opening night. While one dancer propels herself on Pointe, another moves gently with the qualities of a marionette doll. Others explore the circle of light surrounding them, whilst one breaks free of his entirely. The MyNewt Project ran the risk of maximum calamity, but each unique sequence falls together beautifully, completing a jigsaw of sharp, humorous and unique movement.
Interval is a physical duet, showcasing the strength and grace of dancers Yukiko Masui and Joseph Darby. They shift through the space, repeating and reworking the same sequence of swinging arms and bouncing on and off of stage. Hints of capoeira filter through acrobatic rolls, giving gems of sculpture as difficult poses are held. These suspended shapes abolish any mystery surrounding the programme’s promise that the dancers can “Arrest the time” as these paused moments prove the most captivating of the night.
If you’re feeling lonely, the last thing you want to witness is a petting, amorous couple standing beside you. This was the topic in Amy Watson’s piece in which the public displays of affection between a man and woman, were too much for the despairing singleton who forlornly caressed the empty space around her. Curiously her partner named in the programme had not made it onto the stage for whatever reasons; but actually the juxtaposition of her heart-felt isolation with the loved-up frolics of the others, gave the piece its raison-d’être.
The five dancers in Time Stands Still When I Think Of You have such distinct styles in terms of dance and appearance that you wonder how on earth choreographer Alex Newton will connect them up together. Like wind-up toys in a shop window, activated randomly, they each take their turn in the spotlight. One woman dressed like a Mediterranean granny outpours her woes in expressionistic gesticulations; another comically ditzy woman reluctantly enters her allotted space, conquers her fears and wallows hedonistically in some collective joy. A solemn-faced ballet dancer using her impressive point-work in stabbing, fragmented linear phrases, is all vertical and rigid. Her technique becomes a weapon and she remains distant from the others even as they slowly tune into one another. Random is a word that sums up this work, but within the individual contributions there is consistency and tremendous commitment.
Yukiko Masui and Joseph Darby, entwined mostly, zoom like a ball of thunder around the entire stage, barely stopping for breath. Dim lighting and Aphex Twin’s threatening ambient music, make the duet’s physical intensity even more profound. The muscular flow of these dancers as they lift each other, dive into the floor or leap across it is electric. I don’t want them to stop. And they don’t, until near the end where sadly, when they slow down and separate, the momentum of Interval falls apart.