Note to self- need to break that bad habit of thinking of all Taiwanese choreography in the same box as Cloud Gate. There is other stuff out there, and young choreographers especially need support for doing something different.
So I tried to prod myself not to be annoyed when the all-male cast of Horse spent the first five minutes of their act falling over in half-hearted contact improv and very casually scrunching paper into hats, vests, musical instuments, fishing rods.... I love a good po-mo moment but it didn't seem to come to much. There were several entertaining moments of accordion-laced slapstick worthy of a saccharine prime time tv comedy, a rousing parody of military-parade gun tricks done with floppy paper rifles, a surprisingly effortless trio where a chain of guys took turns to hoist each other overhead and fold between the legs of their partners. Finally, three impressive solos hinting of martial arts, release technique and stylised contact improv. The lanky guy whose solo ended the piece repeated an astoundingly soundless flip from his shoulders to his feet.
Sadly, it came across as a sophmorish improvisation class. None of vignettes seemed to have been thoughfully strung together and the transitions from were abrupt. The manila-paper cupboards and eight monitor screens projecting grass and static didn't do much for the production either.
It may be worth checking back on these boys in about five years. But for now they need some time to grow.
Velocity by Horse at the Esplanade Theatre Studio on 1st May 2010
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