Mazzilli Dance Theatre’s For How Much begins (though we didn’t know it initially) with the audience being accosted by a comical, yet slightly unnerving and manic gentleman in the foyer during the interval. He ushers the already intrigued audience back into the auditorium where the stage holds eight performers, a pianist at his piano, and piles and piles of clothing.
The one male and six female dancers surround the man we first met in the foyer, and from this tumbling flock of bodies, troubled solos break out and return as the momentum builds to a fighting energy with satisfyingly messy exchanges of weight. Andy Higgs’ accompaniment to this, both live and recorded, is beautiful.
The juxtaposition of the comical and the sinister running side by side throughout this work is used to great effect, particularly in a colourful ‘family portrait’ moment, where fixed grins become manic and a dancers begin to paw at each other with increasing urgency.
The piece moves on at a pleasing pace, and is at its strongest in moments of suggestion relating to the themes of human trafficking and forced labour. One solitary dancer is burdened with piles of garments, and a fluid and feminine quintet displays further sensitive choreography by Annarita Mazzilli.
As the work draws to a close, the title ‘For How Much?’, is clearly referenced, as gradually every performer moves through the space with handfuls of coins: shaking, dropping, scrabbling, spinning, stealing, donating, caressing and rolling them until the one solitary dancer remains, still and alone.
I left feeling inexplicably haunted by this last piece; and with an overall sense of satisfaction from my first outing to this year’s Resolution! platform… I look forward to the next!
Written by Anna Pearce - Cloud Dance Festival