Place Prize

Bravo to Martha Pasakopoulou for her excellent performance in Eva Recacha's The Wishing Well, one of four finalists for London Contemporary Dance's The Place Prize.

The piece won the night's "audience prize" (the"real" judging comes later) and I was surprised it gained only 34% of the audience's vote as to me it was by far the strongest of the candidates in terms of choreography, creative integrity and performance quality. The score was also excellent, a mix of multi-lingual monologues, song and soundscape by Alberto Ruiz.

What of the others? Riccardo Buscarini's Athletes looked fabulous (costume design by Brook Roberts) and had some interesting moments but I feel the dancers were terribly underused. One of them was lying motionless for the final half of the 20 minute show while the other two spiralled slowly towards each other into a seeming kiss only to not quite meet in the end. Great outfits and lighting though and Bernard Herman's scores never disappoint.
Rick Nodine's performance of his own Dead Gig was well danced when he got into it, but structurally there were too many times when I was left wandering back into my own thoughts rather than being grabbed by the performance. And I even don't mind the Grateful Dead (the theme of the piece). I wondered how much it helps or hinders to dance your own choreography. Perhaps you need an outside agency to look at what has been performed more objectively and to know what to cut and what to enhance. I just didn't get the hanging shoe reference, and some of the gestures or moves seemed un-connected to integrity of the piece.
h2dance's Duet was billed as "witty" and, it's true, it was. I could feel the real-life relationship strains between the two dancer/choregraphers that were comically re-enacted through the performance and the choice of moves was quirky and symbolic. I felt it was a bit safe though, no sense of edgy-ness or excitement or risk or genuine vulnerability. It was more of an English-style "find humour in a difficult situation" approach that might make for a fun piece of review theatre, but not amazing dance.