Magazine article The Spectator

Personal Development

Magazine article The Spectator

Personal Development

Article excerpt

Like modern ballets more and more contemporary dance works seem to suffer from a sort of stylistic malaise. The changing trends of today's culture and the inherent, whimsical demands of the dance public have often prompted a hasty and vain quest for new solutions. Consequently, all those dance-makers in search of some sort of stylistic identity have resorted to an indiscriminate ransacking of all sorts of techniques and artistic principles. This leads only to the creation of artistically empty and untenable hybrids. All that there was to explore has been somehow explored. It is difficult to come up with the as-yet-notseen something.

Still, the problem does not reside so much in the regurgitation of pre-existing ideas, but in the way those are used or, more likely, badly used and combined. The wealth of artistic possibilities, currently up for grabs, have certainly had a dazzling and confusing effect on those choreographers who have come to the fore relatively recently. Contemporary works are thus frequently underscored by an ill-pondered, inconsistent sort of choreographic pickand-mix. This mirrors the authors' immature creative uncertainties.

Fortunately, there are significant exceptions, as demonstrated by the performance of Physical Recall -- formerly known as Edwards and Watton - I saw last week in Woking. The two items on the programme revealed accurately-made artistic choices that remained consistent throughout the works. Both Elle diu el vent by a Catalan choreographer Angels Margarit, and Blue, by Jamie Watton and Fiona Edwards, lack that stylistic jerkiness that has become a common trademark of the new dance scene. The striking element, however, was not the sound formulaic structure of each piece, but the distinctively personal development of elements belonging to wellestablished, identifiable genres. There is little doubt that Elle diu el vent is constructed according to principles of that theatredance with which most European cultures have responded to the German Tanztheater since the mid-Seventies. …

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