Resist, Resurge Traces of Hope is a challenging piece of dance theatre, choreographed by Olivier Tarpaga bringing to the creative table an assortment of cultural and political issues to be discussed and interpret in a one hour piece.
The premise of the work is dance theatre, however, the naturalistic approach cultivated in the dancers doesn’t bring the nuances that the genre proposes.
These dancers are highly skilled and musical; constantly dancing elaborate dance works in previous performances that investigate new angles on Asian traditional dances.
Resist, Resurge Traces of Hope makes very little use of these skills from the ensemble, and that is lamentable.
The proposal from Tarpaga is ambitious, to say the least, but I can’t help thinking that this work doesn’t make use of the best skills from the dancers from Maya Dance Theatre. On one hand, the dancers perform tight unisons of dance, on the other the very rhythmical work typical from the company isn’t featured throughout the piece. Instead, Tarpaga proposes an extraordinary amount of ideas for such a short dance performance.
There are elements of pop culture, live singing, naturalistic attempts to showcase a character that doesn’t grow with the performance, accompanied by further ideas on linguistics and multiculturalism – dressed up in Asiatic costumes. Reference to selfies, wrestling fights and working girls. The dance material pulls out so many allusions to other dance forms and styles that I get lost in the action.
In addition, the dance material seems dysfunctional and totally detached from the music, which is rich in rhythm. It is not a juxtaposition of slow moving dance against beautiful jazz music; it’s a detachment from the latter in relation to the dance material; too many styles and genres of theatre and dance engraved in one ambiguous thread. I struggle to understand where this piece wants to travel and how it benefits the performers in the job of performing.
Alas, the dancers respond to all these different tasks and choreographic propositions with beautiful dance, however, the work itself is overloaded with information, the audience struggles to read what is happening.
Resist, Resurge Traces of Hope if it is to be staged again, would really benefit from editing and focusing on the structure of the choreography playing with the strengths of the company instead of the fulfilment of an array of ideas pushed into a 50-minute performance. Dramaturgy seems absent in this work that wants to deal with too many subjects, there needs to be a consideration for the attention span and interest of the audience, a dramaturge would most certainly help to shape the message and structures of this ambitious proposal.
The choreography doesn’t read to me – I am still overwhelmed with the endless resources and references to pop culture that don’t ever conclude one idea, this is not an abstract piece of dance theatre, in the contrary it tries to be a clear dance narrative, unfortunately, it doesn’t.
Resist, Resurge Traces of Hope is on from 19th to the 21st of May at Drama Centre – Black Box, book your tickets here.