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The dance unfolds

Virginia Baxter

Accumulation Accumulation
photo Heidrun Löhr
We’ve been watching Rosalind Crisp for a good while now. As a dancer-choreograher she’s made more than her share of moves but always with a strong through-line and serious attention to research and careful development. We have followed her trajectory through many solos including a continuing persona in The Lucy Dances, dance theatre works like The Cutting Room, dance-music collaborations such as Proximity (with Keiko Takeya Contemporary Dance Company, Tokyo). We’ve enjoyed her evolving collaboration with composer Ion Pearce, her dialogue with dancer-writer Eleanor Brickhill. More recently she has concentrated her attention on choreographing for an idiosyncratic company of young female dancers and herself called stella b.

accumulation (1-40) showed us a further development of an ongoing work which we last saw at Artspace in January this year (The View From Here). In this latest version, as well as the core dancers, Crisp has opened the process to a broader range of bodies. An advertisement was placed for people interested in participating. 30 turned up and most of them appear in one magical sequence in accumulation. They arrive quitely en masse, lend a different weight and texture to the work with their graceful (mostly non-dancer) bodies, then leave. Watching them work in unison is a strangely moving experience.

Observing the evolution of this dance, you venture a possible direction for the next version. In accumulation, drama lurks at the edges of abstract scenarios. The program notes, “Two feet are visible in the half light, working the floor. In another space a solo dancer inverts a dance she knew before.” Ion Pearce’s score, this time recorded, seems a little less Zen, more obviously and insistently rhythmic. Richard Manner’s lighting is quietely dramatic marking out evocative spaces. You sense it wouldn’t take much for the dance to tip-toe into the theatrical without surrendering any of its choreographic seriousness. Some of the performers project identies, even palpable personalities. Being caught by Nalina Wait’s intense gaze or watching Eleanor Brickhill’s concentrated dance of tiny adjustments and changes of mind, it’s hard to see them as purely formal presences. At the same time, this is a work about dancing—it’s constructed in layers, it’s arithmetical, cumulative. And all is revealed in the penultimate sequence when some of the intricate patterns are unpicked by the dancers in a line-up in which a series of interlocking, accumulative gestures slip in and out of synch. It ends with a solo of articulating joints. It's dance we could watch for hours. We await its further unfolding.

Rosalind Crisp, stella b. and guests, accumulation (1-40), the outcome of a Performance Space residency; choreography and direction Rosalind Crisp, dance and solo material Eleanor Brickhill, dance & treatment of material Nalina Wait, Kathy Macdonald, Danielle van der Borch, Bronwyn Ritchie, Laurie Foster, sound Ion Pearce, lighting Richard Manner. Performance Space, July 13 -16.

RealTime issue #38 Aug-Sept 2000 pg. 14

© Virginia Baxter; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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