Monday, July 20, 2009


From the opening scene of construct, the capacity audience was lured in by wide smiles and comical ‘Plank like’ routines. Demonstrating the art of falling, the three dancers interacted effortlessly in a series of movements playing with weight, momentum and balance. They were clever, funny and relentless.

This was the first of many scenes, like chapters of a book, that took the audience through a path exploring relationships; friendship, joy, pleasure, love, family, resentment and grief. Each scene had its own distinct feel, sound and movement, with representative threads and well-placed repetition ensuring continuity. Sharp, flexing strength juxtaposed with dancers collapsing in on themselves and falling into awkward ugly posturing.

Kristina Chan, Lisa Griffiths and Paul White were unwavering in their performances. Chan was sensual and enigmatic in her solo performance, while all dancers displayed incredible precision, endurance and synchronicity, individually and in their group work.

Housed within a sparse stage reminiscent of a work site, planks of wood and cordless drills became remote controls, sound effects and metaphors for suburban life; a picket fence, a game of cricket and a home. Lighting changes enhanced the switch in scenes, emotion and pace and suited the shifting sentiment of the production; from absolute joy to a sense of menace and worry.

The soundtrack to this 90 minute production was exceptional. Composed and recorded by DJ Trip, it moved between deep thumping 80s-inspired rap to intimate guitar and voice. Sounds of waves wrapped around the scenes of happiness; a couple, a child, a family, and fell away to industrial harsh percussion.

There were so many intelligent devices and props used in this production, but none detracted from the underlying themes of the work or the exceptional performances. While metaphors were aplenty, any cheesiness was beautifully balanced with the complexities of life, love and loss, the light and shade created by the three dancers.

construct not only left me with further admiration for contemporary dancers, but wondering what would have been the nature of future works by Tanja Liedtke, who at such a young age had already established herself as one of Australia’s leading choreographers. It was the last work choreographed by award-winning Liedtke before her accidental death in 2007 and is worthy of the capacity crowds it attracts.

construct was presented by Salamanca Arts centre and Mobile States and continues to tour Australia until 25th July 2009.
Peacock Theatre, Thursday 16th July

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