Resolution 2018: Straczynska/Mapped Dance Theatre/Amy Foskett Dance Grains

Jan Ania Straczynsk -Grains. Photo by Jeremy Henderson

Grains opens with a female trio lit by a square light beam. A slow clapping on a loop sets the steady rhythm for a sequence of poses and entanglements that develop into a collective piece punctuated by a vigorous tempo infused with Eastern European folk elements. The intricate flow of lifts and pulls generated by this energetic sequence is captivating to watch, and the score played live by a string duo suggests the exceptional attention Ania Straczynska dedicated to the performance. The audience is taken on a journey that runs through traditional folk movements and contemporary vocabulary, ending with spectacular short solos repeated over and over till the exhaustion – probably an attempt to create a continuity between past and present. But this transition is not quite clear and leaves me a bit disorientated.

Through a witty use of bed sheets as metaphor and playing with the homophony of the word, Same Sheet, Different Day is a humorous and mind-blowing take on the boredom of daily routine. The sharp sound and repetitive rhythm of sheets shaken out in silence is regularly interrupted by jolly music played on the radio and transports the scene into a hilariously dreamy one. Three dancers have their go at times, picturing themselves as Broadway stars or holding newborn babies, but their dreams are always brought back to the tedious reality. Although the repetitive pattern of shaking sheets can be irritating after a while, this is a very effective and terrifically enjoyable piece of dance theatre.

Time comes for the final work, and yet another outstanding trio. Focusing on the feeling of being dangerously attracted by something, To The Flame The Moth Said captures immediately my attention and builds a strong immersive atmosphere. Twisted together in darkness as a sort of single entity, dancers slowly rise until a sudden light triggers a hectic reaction. From here the piece converts into an energetic and intense sequence of contact and raw movements, accompanied by a minimalist electro score. The beguiling tight sequence of pulling and lifting conveys a sense of relentless high tension that persists for the entire performance. Amy Foskett’s choreography is the standout work of the evening.

Reviewed by Francesca Marotto at The Place on 31 January 2017 as part of Resolution Festival.