Not sure I’m a fan of ‘best of’ lists, but I chucked in some words about stuff that I liked that was otherwise largely unsung:
Florence Peake, Touch Horizontal Pleasure, Bosse & Baum
I was sad not to write about Florence Peake’s extraordinary Touch Horizontal Pleasure (Bosse & Baum, London, September 2017). Four hours of drawing, rolling, holding, lying, teasing, falling, wrestling, dancing… a post-coital laziness, where absent-minded hands toy with the bodies of lovers. The skill and spontaneity of the performers undercut some of the potentially overwhelming coolness of the work – genius women getting stuck and unstuck as they grew grimy-smeared with oil pastels – always becoming more and more delirious, giddy and exhausted. Very dreamy.
Eros and Simone Simone, Untitled(?), New River Studios
Otherwise… Eros and Simone Simone trying to burn down a warehouse at Low Stakes Festival (New River Studios, London, February 2017) was pretty memorable, offering everything I think I’ve ever wanted from dance and performance – violence, indifference, bewilderment, endlessness, stupidity, laziness, pointlessness, uncertainty, irresponsibility – I’m pretty sure I still smell like smoke….
Lilach Livne, Prayer for the Abstract, ICE/C-DaRE Coventry University
Lilach Livne’s work typifies the Impulstanz-y wave of contemporary dance that draws equally from speculative body practice, hippy sexual freedom movements, valley girl social dynamics and densely philosophical thought. The seemingly teenager-y stupidity of her veil-wearing participatory performance leads to surprisingly powerful mutations in which anonymous eyes are repeatedly forced to encounter and re-consider anonymous eyes. Forgoing trite and easy gestures that plague relational aesthetics, Livne’s complex propositions permit us to (re)negotiate our understandings of painfully tense political realities.
Ben Judd, The Natural Order, Arboretum Park/Summer Lodge
Ben Judd’s unnerving and exquisite The Natural Order presented five adolescent gymnasts cartwheeling and contorting around a public park. With simple choreographies shifting between the collective and the individual, the Degas-like and problematic exposure of these young female bodies was undercut by the striking sense of their casual agency; both in the unhurried undertaking of the scores, and their responsibility of their (at times gut-clenching) own physical risk. To be gathered on a weekday afternoon, to watch these virtuosos search for grip and balance on the damp grass, felt dignified, complex and shockingly democratic.