The Laban crowds were out in force for the first Friday of Resolution 2014, with works by Laban CAT teacher William Aitchison and recent Transitions graduate Daisy Farris - as witnessed by the hearty response to one of William's jokes about Laban graduates at the start of a very mixed night of dance.
Anecdotal Evidence's 'My Nose Grows Now', created and performed by William Aitchison and Lucy Evans, opened with William and Lucy delivering speeches on lying, slowly building movement into their dialogue as they experimented with the physicality of storytelling. As with their storytelling, however, the choreography took some time to develop, and never really evolved beyond uninspired and basic movements, although Lucy's earnest performance shone through.
The backbone of the work was a childhood story about pigeons which evolved and mutated with its many retellings, which meant that 'My Nose Grows Now' never had the chance to explore its topic of lying in further depth or use wider material - both of movement and text. Many in the audience loved it, though.
Daisy Farris Dance Collective's 'Silence The Song In Them...' was another work which could have been so much more than it was. A deathly serious group work, performed very seriously by very serious dancers, its choreography never strayed from heavily recycled movements, which prevented the audience from seeing the extent of Daisy's choreographic abilities, or from seeing the dancers at their best, without more challenging choreography to engage them more fully. 'Silence The Song In Them...' is Daisy's first work with the collective, which she only set up a few months ago, and with ambitious collaborative plans, there's plenty of scope for her and the Collective to grow further.
Thankfully, we only had to wait till after the first interval for the highlight of the evening, Pell Ensemble's 'decoy'. Founded last year by Rebecca Evans as a project to bring together the "superheroes" of contemporary dance she's worked with over the years - her collaborators range from Lisa Hood and Megan Griffiths to James Cousins - her second work for the company shows a huge improvement and increased confidence by Rebecca Evans, and a clearly disctinctive voice.
Similar to Anecdotal Evidence, 'decoy' developed slowly, but the similarities ended there: sometimes we like to watch work as it builds up, rather than slap us in the face with its opening moves. 'decoy' started with its five dancers running around the stage, exploring different running styles and the innate humour and absurdity, for example David Ogle's distorted speedwalking to Lisa Hood's hunched loping.
From the start, Rebecca Evans uses sharp, strong choreography with inspired movement ideas - helped, of course, by her team of strong dancers who clearly enjoy working together, and there's scope for the choreography to challenge them further. More importantly, 'decoy' has that rare (in Resolution) quality of engaging the audience and persuading them to invest in each dancer, wanting to see what they do next, and how.
The 25th anniversary Resolution! video playing in the bar at The Place reminds us of the early works by industry legends such as Wayne McGregor, Javier De Frutos, Arthur Pita, Jasmin Vardimon and so many more, reminding us that even luminaries such as them had less than auspicious starts at Resolution. Compared with those videos, Pell Ensemble is off to a very very good start - with very sophisticated lighting by Joe Hornsby.