Resolution 2019: Physical Language/Amy Morvell Dance/Emily Robinson

Jan Willow Vidal-Hall: Physical Language. Photo by Lucy Dawson

She Holds Me Up performed by female duo Vidal-Hall and Cook, revolves around a rope and a pole, placed side by side. Vidal-Hall clings onto the precarious rope like it’s her lifeline, creating a striking image of a twisted body in the air as if it is dangling from a noose. She struggles as she climbs the rope, attempting to defy gravity and escape her unfortunate fate – “consent” she narrates. Cook gives her support and security; and an anchored pole. The rope is then intertwined with the pole, revealing the extraordinary connection the two women have. While the piece delivered strong imagery, the movements lacked focus and did not add much to the overall composition.

Turtle Dove is an intimate and thoughtful duet. Set to the voiceover recordings of individuals recalling heart-warming, funny, and tear-jerkingly sweet moments shared with their partners, the piece highlights the unique universality of “love”. The stories are handled with care; as Morvell’s and Darby’s movements are never forced or intimidatingly technical, but are organic in a way that brings out their innate human qualities. I’d usually find some of the movements clichéd: the push- and-pulls, the twirls and the embraces. But it was all performed so well, with great sincerity, that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

Five dancers perform a dynamic choreography in Emily Robinson Dance’s Leave me one. Compared with the other works, this piece allows more room for interpretation. There is an interesting play with internal and external space of movement; perhaps reflective of the internal dialogues and external forces that constitute the “imposter syndrome” that the work claims to explore. Regardless of the intent, the choreography itself was enjoyable to watch as it showcased the high technical skills of the dancers, and their strong sense of unity when they moved in sync. On the whole, however, the piece seemed to lack something special.

Reviewed on 18th of January at The Place by Wen Amanda Koh