First Floor & Third Floor Dance Company, Algorithm
RiePete Dance & Music, I, Only Me
TLDT, Ambiance Inn
The impressive ensemble of musical instruments, harp, double-bass, guitar and percussion in RiePete Dance & Music promises a professional exercise in collaboration. Technical aptitude is undeniable on both sides. However the choreography is unimaginative in spite of its flamboyant aural accompaniment and fails to develop in any interesting fashion. One male dancer embodies a narcissistic physicality, his special gift, which the other three attempt to wrestle off him. They succeed through a variety of interventions, some gentle, some violent. While there are glimmers of intensity, the otherwise stilted action and too many baffled expressions make I, Only Me drag on.
There’s a seedy, smoochy yet groovy feel to Ambiance Inn contributed by floor lighting, dry–ice and Ashley Lansiquot’s music. The dancers lounge against the stripped back wings before shuffling into action. Bob Fosse style and attitude reign here: men ooze from pelvic undulations, the women strut sluttishly, exchanging bowler hats and other body revealing accessories. Bursts of Drum n Bass propel the group into frenetic, head-banging activity and half way through, there’s a satisfying assemblage of a chorus line. Otherwise, the initially slick atmosphere becomes jaded as the dancers rely too much on pushing the same old clichéd buttons.
Two confident works showcasing some fine dancers bookended Saturday night at Resolution!, with a worthy but dull collaboration squeezed in between.
First up was Algorithm, a satisfying and methodical male duet with echoes of Russell Maliphant's work. Joe Darby and Kai Downham were nicely attuned as they carved through the space with almost mathematical precision, fluently wheeling and weaving around each other to hypnotic effect. Some beautifully executed lifts and well-judged lighting set the whole thing off nicely.
A silky opening solo, and RiePete Dance & Music's I, Only Me seemed set to give us more soft fluidity. However there was little development or dynamic variation from this point on, and as a result the piece felt flat and one dimensional - something noted by the increasingly fidgety audience. The presence of live musicians reminded us this was a collaboration between a composer and choreographer, as they provided discordant but forgettable accompaniment from a slightly awkward position upstage. Three additional dancers were disappointingly underused, with little to do but approach and be knocked back by the soloist in a repetitive depiction of his isolation. This cycle trudged on towards an ending that aimed for poignancy, but hadn't done enough to earn it.
Topping the evening off with a serving of slick, high energy fun was TLDT with Ambiance Inn. Nothing groundbreaking or profound here, just unabashed, raucous grooving; a night in a dingy jazz bar conjured in a riot of clicks and wriggles. Equipped with braces, fur coats and suitably retro sneers, the ever increasing number of dancers strutted and whipped their hair around with uninhibited, even mildly alarming energy. It was over in a glitzy, breathless flash, and the audience loved it.