Resolution 2019: Triangle Motion/Charlie Hendren Dance Theatre/Declan Whitaker

Declan Whitaker: To Those Who Wait. Photo by Pete Ashton

Under a projected full moon, a group of dancers nest together, swelling and contracting like a lung. Dialogue: X-Body draws resources from technology and from the ceremony – at one point, a hanging microphone is carried on as if it’s a dying god. Zhi Xu’s choreography is commanding and considered, and the techno-occultist visuals are sometimes arresting, like an ultrasound scan of the dance. The whole feels inconclusive but full of rigour and desire.

Charlie Hendren plays a recluse with little to his name but a pot of flour, some bottled water, a guitar and a looping machine in this portrait of male self-isolation and angst. Occasionally he catches something tender and pathetic about this person alone with only himself to play with, but mostly it’s hard to distinguish between the self-laceration and the self-regard. Despite its talk about the “the reality of this pain”, A Light in the Backwoodsfelt a bit unreal, a precocious echo of other things, too full of sound to let itself be.

By contrast, Declan Whitaker’s To Those Who Wait makes patience its element. The three dancers begin in extreme slowness – their wavering bodies allowed just to happen to themselves – and in silence, except for the lyrical creak of the room. It circles intricately through phases of heightened colour and euphoric club music, the dancers’ gradual alignment making them seem movingly continuous across distances. At one moment, there is an uncanny looping reversal between the performers, halfway between an Instagram ‘boomerang’ and a choreographic shiver. The piece resolves in silence with a musical sense of design as if the whole thing were one single complex gesture. This felt enquiring and purposeful, an example of the attentiveness which the critic Eric Griffiths wrote can “slow our transit through our selves”.

Reviewed on 14th of February by Bryn Davies within Resolution Festival

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