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Four Quarters
Published on Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Bite-sized choreographic samples are the perfect way to get over the post-lunch lull, as Zoo presents a mixed bill of dance; Four Quarters is comprised of four new works which are on the whole enjoyable.

Isobel Cohen impresses, not least because she is in three out of the four pieces, but additionally for her scripted performance in The Great Escape - which, surprisingly for a dance piece, is a verbal diatribe. Mocking dance and poorly chosen presents, it’s intelligent, cynical and funny, contrasting with her softer dance choreography with its almost fluttering knee movements. However, it’s the image of her slumped at the end which carries the most emotional weight.

A more deathly piece follows with Where the Humans Eat. Shahla Tarrant’s solo uses film and dance to convey a story of murder; Tarrant portrays both the man and woman. The choreography distinguishes between the two; the tentative then trapped hands of the victim as she moves towards freedom, and the hunter stalking his pray. Her movement is strong and defined and enjoyable to watch.

There’s a strong sense of being airborne in All Ends in Tears, particularly in comparison to the previous two pieces which linger on the ground. Both Alex Broadie and Cohen burst onstage, precariously leaping and diving. Part contact improvisation, part combat and full of humour and pain, his choreography explores power relationships and is a reminder why some things should never be tried at home.

The final piece I’ve been waiting… is the least successful of the four. There was definitely a sense of longing on the part of Steven Johnstone, but there was a sense of disconnection between the performers. This may have been deliberate, but that and the lack of development in the choreography - which seemed a bit stuck in tracing and clawing geometric shapes and lines out of the air and ground - meant it was a little unsatisfying.

It's likely that, in choosing to present a number of shorter choreographic works, the power of each is undermined; but having said this, there is still much to recommend in Four Quarters and it remains exciting that these four choreographers are making dance for us all.

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