Artistic Director David Murley follows Tamara Rojo’s lead with The Object of My Affection. The title is a neat pun and the first time that MurleyDance present a triple programme with a central thematic concept. There are literal objects, a throne, flat-pack Ikea; and there are the recipients of love, both stated and unrequited.
The first offering, Murley’s Seated, is ’a study in status and sentiment’ in five movements. The most striking is the first. Gabriele Santoni and Monica Tapiador sit in a love seat, which juxtapose the pairs’ social differences. She is dressed in dun-brown, he is a fresh-faced swain in blue. With languorous limbs and sleights of hand we are shown a decorous courtship of snatched moments and passionate looks, eighteen century style. Accompanied by music from Johann Sebastian Bach, this feels like an illicit, yet delicious bon-bon. The other studies, however, needed more meat on the bone.
French choreographer, Anthony Kurt-Gabel, premieres A une passante (a woman passing by) inspired by Baudelaire’s poem, with music by Peteris Vasks. A couple and their dream-shadows dance. They share an emotional journey, yet the stillness of the man is a strong counterpoint to the passionate coupling that might have been. Kurt-Gabel’s choreography has an intense beauty, off-set by glancing, light gestures. While the women’s lilac costumes (Tessa Balls and Debbie Kingston) and the intense blue in the men’s play on a visual, plaintive theme that has real emotional power.
The treat of the evening is nineteen year old choreographer Richard Chappell. While reminiscent of William Forsyth, Chappell’s Into Decay is physically inventive, yet demanding, which the company clearly relish. It is the most unified theatrically of the three pieces with projected film, stylish blue costumes and shafts of pastel light. Patterns and configurations form, disperse and reform as the stage becomes a dazzling bravura display of balance and counter-balance, set to Shaquille Livingston and Jorge Mendez’ provocative soundscore.
MurleyDance are currently on tour, catch them if you can, as there are the seeds here of something rather special.