Socialist Worker

Resolving the political contradictions of choreography

by Despina Mavrou
Issue No. 2034

Resolution! modern dance festival

Resolution! modern dance festival

Out of all the established artforms, dance usually occupies the least space in newspaper columns and listings pages.

But it hit the headlines when Simone Clarke, principal dancer with the English National Ballet, publicly declared her membership of the fascist British National Party (BNP).

The revelation that a senior figure in a heavily subsidised institution not only holds anti-immigration views, but is prepared to publicly defend her membership of a fascist party, has rightly provoked outrage in the arts.

Dance is a very multi-racial sector of the arts, including the English National Ballet. But it is also a very broad art form, with ballet being only one compenent of it.

If all art is political, then ballet tends to fall at the conservative end of the scale – both in terms of storylines and in its aesthetics.

Women are typically portrayed as weightless, fairylike creatures, while men play the strong characters that perform all the high jumps, lifting up their female partners.

In contrast, contemporary dance – itself a broad term – has produced countless exciting, interesting artists and works in the past century or so since its birth.

In Britain alone there are hundreds of artists and companies producing new dance work that is thought provoking, interesting, challenging or just plain entertaining.

Resolution! is a six-week long annual contemporary dance festival featuring over 100 different dance pieces. It is one of the few places where you can see new dance work by choreographers who wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to appear in an established dance theatre.

With only a picture, a title and a short blurb to go by, the trickiest part is choosing what to see.

In this year’s programme, Limewire by Belgium’s Andros Zinsbrowne (26 January) looks at counter-culture and questions of authenticity within it. Opium by Philine Janssens (7 February) critically examines religion and religious differences.

Some more lighthearted pieces that look promising are Curse Of The Second Album by Jennifer Irons (24 January) and “iPod and i” by Tony Adigun (31 January), a mix of hip-hop and contemporary dance.

Resolution! 2007

The Place, 17 Dukes Road,
London WC1
until 17 February
box office 020 7121 1100

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Article information

Sat 20 Jan 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2034
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