Review: Bloom, Tramway, Glasgow

New dance at Tramway
Julie Cunningham Bloom
Julie Cunningham and Alex Williams: photo copyright, Vicky Long

This selection, part of the new new season at Tramway, is a fantastic programme, showcasing very disparate themes and styles of new contemporary dance.

Charlotte Jarvis’ opener, Ballet of the Unseen, features a bare bones routine, meditating on man and nature. Jarvis dances to one side, while Booker Prize winning novelist and poet Ben Okri reads from some of his work in a rich, beautiful voice of “the indigo moods of women”. Jarvis integrates crouching animal moves into sentient human shapes, evolving with the ebb and flow of the lyrical content and sound by Martin Lutz. Her precise angles are highly instinctive, melting into a joyful exaltation, an ecstatic whirling, as though taken over by a beatific spirit.

Anima(L)(us) /Rosalind Masson’s Between is a duet  between Masson herself and the smaller Maria Guilia Serantoni . It is very hypnotic, with poetic repetition of movements between the two women. Jan Hendrickse’s specially commissioned glitchy, bubbly score sees the choreography and dancers interplay with an almost stop-motion feel, in which the two react to each other’s shapes, in minimalist movements.

Eve Mutso’s Unknown is arguably the pick of the four routines. Her premiere piece of choreography since leaving Scottish Ballet is both beautiful and ominous.She’s confined in a cuboid structure, which seems symbolic of not wanting to be  limited, perhaps. Merlin Bonning ‘s eerie soundscape seems entirely apposite for the sci-fi feel of the routine.She flexes in her space, an alien goddess in evening gown, crouching with spindly hands protecting her face. It is as though she is insulating herself against a hostile environment, but ultimately she breaks free. Here, the structure lights up, as does the statuesque, now upright and high-kicking Mutso. She is, to paraphrase, the woman who fell to earth.


Eve Mutso’s Unknown: photo by Paul Muir.


Julie Cunningham, who has just received the  inaugural choreography fellowship at Rambert Dance, demonstrates a very different movement with Right Where You Are, performed to the brittle neo-Beat poetry of Kate Tempest. She and Alex Williams, in bold, red and black clothing, are like androgynous Siamese twins, two halves of a whole unit, carrying each other and mirroring.Cunningham’s high, high,high-kicks and bends seem reminiscent at times of her earlier work with the wonderful Michael Clark Company, but the storytelling is more apparent here, with clenched fists, a head-to-head at a table and power play- gestures of gender fluidity. “How many you’s will you carry?” queries Tempest. The answer here seems to be as many as it takes- within contemporary dance, the possibilities of multiple identities seem infinite.


(Lorna Irvine)

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