Monday, November 2, 2009

IDENTITY

Theatre Royal
30 October 2009

Regardless of our age or experience, we all have moments of anxiety and self doubt as we teeter between the defiant individualist and the need to be part of a community.

In Tasdance’s latest work, IDENTITY, Artistic Director Annie Greig invited two choreographers to explore the complexities of ‘unique personality’. Both explored individuality and unity, yet the results are very different.

The Blur, by Anton an experienced dancer, choreographer and film maker, was an edgy hard and fast response with the dancers manipulating sheets of translucent perspex to create a sense of voyeurism, manipulation and control. With filmic qualities that included an evolving and rhythmical soundscape, the dancers moved in a staggered unison – together but not identical.

Movements were jolting and spasmodic with conflict between dancers giving way to touch, support and harmony. It was a fearless performance from Sofie Burgoyne, Joel Corpuz and Trisha Dunn who worked together seamlessly.

In contrast, the storytelling voice over that introduced Remembered Of Us , by choreographer Francis Rings, welcomed the audience into the work through narrative. Francis has worked extensively throughout Australia and overseas as a choreographer and dancer and brings an earthiness to the piece that is mimicked in the stage production.

The warm lighting, by Darren Willmott and textured set and costuming, by Odette Arietta-Shadbolt, was extremely effective and worked to create a sense of place. The walls of wool and ribbon provided opportunities for dancers to interact and contrasted well against The Blurs’ stark white down lights and empty stage.

Unlike The Blur, this work was full of cliques that tapped into our own memories in a tapestry that explored inherited traits and relationships. It was solemn, nostalgic and quite beautiful. The music overpowered the performance at times but did not distract from the duet by Sarah Fiddaman and Malcolm McMillan, who presented a strong and sensual representation of ‘a grown up relationship’ and a meeting of equals.

These two works engaged with the audience in very different ways. The Blur connected through a less reflective hypnotic partnering of sound and movement. Remembered of us was more conventional contemporary dance which presented clear ideas to the audience and invited us into the narrative.

With few empty seats at the Theatre Royal, it’s clear there’s an audience for contemporary dance. I look forward to more experiences like this.

IDENTITY continues on its Tasmanian tour, heading to Devonport Entertainment and Convention Centre 5-6 November. For more details contact www.tasdance.com.au

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