Anjali Mehra’s Little Grasses Crack Through Stone is a more complex idea, based on a Sylvia Plath radio play, Three Women, from 1962. It follows three different stories of pregnancy and motherhood – although Mehra’s reading is a little broader and open to interpretation, suggesting maybe they’re all aspects of the same person. She can’t match the depth and detail of Plath’s text but it has some poignant moments and great performances, especially from Charlotte Broom as a quivering, unsettled, but ultimately accepting new mother. The sense of a woman’s competing choices and sometimes brutal biology rings as true now as 60 years ago.
The final film, Monique Jonas’s Checkmate, may be less interesting conceptually – the story of a man confronting his shadow self – but her movement has a lot going for it. Rhys Dennis clutches at his face as if the hands were someone else’s; his dancing is heavy but loose-bodied, joints and limbs lurching then snapping into place. Jonas, like Chu, is only starting out as a choreographer and it just goes to show that with opportunity, and a bit of budget, there are a lot of talented choreographic voices out there with something to say.