Jacob Hobbs Hallo Spaceboy
Wolfgang I am Wolf
Cody’s Moving Group The Fear Factor
Wolves, zombies and a misplaced astronaut: Welcome to Resolution! 2013.
Jacob Hobbs is a dishevelled, pill-popping astronaut who sports a range of outlandish rubber suits, all of which would not be out of place in a low-budget porn movie. When we meet him, he’s supposedly running out of air, stranded somewhere in space. He inanely gabbles to us about his confused, cosmic identity, fiddling with his costumes, wasting time. His swan song, however, in which he belts out David Bowie’s Rock’n Roll Suicide is rendered with passion and amusing urgency. On his own admission, dance is not one of his main skills but he fares rather better as a comic and rock singer.
Dance is a strength in Wolfgang’s I am Wolf, in which Francesca Roche and Tomos Young embody the spirits of two frenzied wolves on the verge of destruction. Their stealthy entrance from the auditorium is effective as is their hunted animalistic physicality. Less convincing are the depressing video images of global natural disasters and talking heads which convey over- simplistic, prophetic warnings about man’s war with nature. However as the lupine-dancers are cornered, we are left to consult our inner wolves, inspired by a fleeting photo- montage of these beautiful but misunderstood beasts.
Cody Choi’s The Fear Factor, goes in a more paranormal direction, suggesting that we need to face up to our internal and external zombies. There’s nothing very subtle in Choi’s piece, but there is some great energy and arresting performance from the team of six young women. To an aural background of pumping techno, and lit by spooky lighting, the women who alternate between being their natural selves and crazed, distorted creatures, could do well on a podium in the Ministry of Sound. Tricky, athletic choreography enacted with attitude and commitment does suggest common, ‘teenage’ anxieties for The Twilight Zone generation, but not mine.
It started with a wank. At least that is what Jacob Hobbs told us he was doing while he yanked his costume vigorously for a few seconds at the beginning of his Hallo Spaceboy. Hobbs, an LSCD alumnus, openly shared the agony of all dancers– can I actually dance. Hobbs told us that he tried but ‘it looked shit’. Instead he delivered a well-structured, confident and hugely entertaining stand-up act. And it successfully demonstrated why dance education is good for you, even if you cannot dance at the end of it. Also worth praise is costume design by Hollie Miller which framed perfectly Hobbs’ main medium – in this case his slightly chubby yet still visibly fit body.
Doris Humphrey said ‘a young choreographer should choose something quite simple, which is thoroughly familiar or within the range of his own experience’. Tomos Young and Francesca Roche did not follow this advice. The images of tsunami, atom bomb, people shouting about love and selfishness were a backdrop for I am Wolf while two of them moved fluidly between four chairs. Big themes aside, why chairs? Merce Cunningham tied a chair to his back. That’s how serious the chair is as a stage prop. The fact that the dancing was competent didn’t help either. Instead the overloaded narrative made the agile movements look more like snapshots from a yoga retreat than an expression of some horrible existential angst.
A gang of six girls burst on stage in Cody Choi’s The Fear Factor. Someone is after them. Or is it one of them? They ran, they walked and prowled. They screamed and they totally immersed themselves in movements, hypnotic to watch. But what we really wanted from this girly Dance Macabre was for the fear factor to be turned up. We wanted to see the real hair-pulling with the fear visceral rather than acted. As Russ Meyer would say: 'Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!'