n a rehearsal room in London, a dancer is propelled towards the ceiling by her partner. She flies through the air, dark locks streaming behind, and lands in a

crumpled heap. A simple misjudgment

has put her out of action for at least a few weeks with a fractured ankle. A blow to choreographer and dancer Sian Williams, an unexpected opportunity for Fiona Creese who will take over the part in The Kosh’s latest production, Dinner Dance.

Like La La La, The Kosh has been experimenting with highly physical dance for years. Both companies would admit there are certain hazards which come with the job, though they are minimised by careful and thorough rehearsal. The Kosh’s latest project involves acrobatics both at ground level and in mid-air, the dancers suspended in climbing harnesses. Working from the theme of containment and release, the first half is set in a kitchen, while the second halfopens out, literally, to the space above.

Enamoured of the principles of acrobatics, Williams is full of praise for the company’s 78-year-old instructor, Johnny Hutch. In 1927, at the age of fourteen, Hutch joined a troupe of Arab tumblers. ‘They didn’t teach you with kindness, but they really taught you well,’ Hutch recalls. The fine-tuned

La La La Human Steps in lntante and (inset) The Kosh in Dinner Dance

discipline works on principles of leverage, where one weight counterbalances another.

‘All the basic physics terms I remember from school are in Johnny’s terminology,’ Williams explains. ‘Strength becomes an illusion. I can hold two women because of the way I’m balanced. It’s not through brute force, but through the delicate transference of weight.’

The soft beat of Arab tumbling makes a perfect dance partner. ‘We let the acrobatics fall into the dance,’ Hutch enthuses. ‘It’s not just a matter of stopping and doing an acrobatic trick. We are trying to give dance its natural movement.’

Both The Kosh and La La La would agree that dance has become too secular. ‘It doesn’t seem to want to taint itselfwith anything other than a familiar round of patterning and exploring physicality in a certain way,’ laments Sian Williams. Leaping over boundaries and re-defining dance, La La La and The Kosh could not be accused of being staid. Bearing more resemblance to Archaos than Swan Lake they should be seen to be believed.

Dinner Dance (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, 13—15 Aug, noon; 12, 16—18, 20—24Aug, 3.15pm, £7—£8 (£5.50—£6.50).

The List 9— 15 August 166?!)