Dance

SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY’S ‘ORB’ @ THE ROS PACKER THEATRE

Swift as wind. Supple as water. Grounded as surely as the summit of a mountain nimbly flits through fleeting clouds, and stays irrefutably present.

The spry air is charged, set alight by the fiery lightning that strikes from dancer to dancer and shoots through the audience.

The space between dancers is at once brimming with intercourse and fully, delectably pregnant: opening a boundless wellspring of infinite flow and limitless directions in which to move. Continue reading SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY’S ‘ORB’ @ THE ROS PACKER THEATRE

LIMITLESS DANCE COMPANY IN ‘SE7EN’ @ THE NIDA PLAYHOUSE

Featured image – Olivia Kingston, Raegan Williams and Alex Warren in Limitless Dance Company’s ‘Se7en’ at the NIDA Playhouse.

When does synchronised motion stop mimicking a machine and, instead, move like a flock of birds in flight?

When do the constituent parts of animate limbs stop being mere tendon, muscle and bone and, instead, soar like the wings of an eagle?

When do individual dancers stop moving in brilliant unison and, instead, let one another’s individuality brilliantly move each dancer into living intercourse with the whole, much like the wind can rouse the leaves of a tree to leap, each leafy blade shimmering the other? Continue reading LIMITLESS DANCE COMPANY IN ‘SE7EN’ @ THE NIDA PLAYHOUSE

AUSTRALIAN BALLET IN ‘FASTER’ @ JOAN SUTHERLAND SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

From where does an accomplished dancer dance? From every pore of their body.

From where does a very accomplished dancer dance? From every pore of their body inspired by the heart.

From where does a supremely accomplished dancer dance? From every pore of their body inspired by the heart and reflected through their eyes.

Enduring is the joy, infectious, exquisite and soul melting, that is caught from dancers performing in full intercourse, not just with an apt freedom to effect poetry in motion, but to share the flight to naked bliss through their eyes. These are the inestimable moments which we, the audience, crave.

A superlative example of dancers who penetrate each other’s soul as well as the audience’s heart, was provided by Amy Harris and Brett Simon of the Australian Ballet who stood out with their performance in the title piece directed by David McAllister, at the Joan Sutherland  Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Brintley originally choreographed the work for the Royal Birmingham Ballet in 2012 in anticipation of the London Olympics.

Harris and Simon dance the roles of two wrestler-fighters competing in an Olympic games. Watching them perform is like  being privy to seeing elite athletes undress each other from the strictures of sublime sport to the subtle intimacy of tremulous love making.

For me, it rekindled the excitement that I experienced in the incomparable engagement and spine tingling connectedness of the two nude dancers from the Sydney Dance Company who achieved a mesmerising feat of delicious intimacy  as they performed in front of the painting The Wrestlers – a painting then on show in Sydney from the Tate Gallery.

With this production of David Bintley’s FASTER, the Australian Ballet boldly break the grammar of classical ballet and explore the gutsy beauty of contemporary dance.

 

WILLIAM GOLDING’S CLASSIC TALE GETS THE BOURNE TREATMENT

Dark and disturbing this is a gripping, chilling version of William Golding’s classic novel LORD OF THE FLIES directed by Matthew Bourne.

This is the Australian premiere with a short Melbourne season only and represents the first time that this work has been performed out of the UK. Bourne’s production is driven, relentless and, at time, explosively violent.

Continue reading WILLIAM GOLDING’S CLASSIC TALE GETS THE BOURNE TREATMENT

THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD @ ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE

THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD was part of the Breaking the Mould event series at The Japan Foundation, Sydney. The series brings emerging, boundary-pushing work from Japan’s art and contemporary theatre scenes to Australia.

This was an astonishingly bravura performance that blended ballet, Butoh , theatre and contemporary dance. The performance was poignant, funny and thought provoking, and a performance which gets us to look at the selfishness of modern society as well as meanings of life and existence and the painfulness of death .

Yamamoto is one of Japan’s hottest theatre makers. His solo theatre project Docu(nt)ment has been established since 2012 and his blending of projected text, movement, photography and moody lighting has won him fans and awards across Asia.

It is unclear who the ‘Unknown Dancer’ really is – perhaps he is the person next to you. Or even the one in the mirror. Who knows?

We discover life in a Japanese suburb on the fringe of a major city, a somewhat unsavoury suburb called Nagai. The entire “non-community” of a city precinct is shown as both intimately knowable yet anonymous. In the daytime the neighbourhood throngs with people who treat each other indifferently; at night, it morphs into a dangerous zone, festering with crime.

The densely crowded urban atmosphere that THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD creates – with its overload of technological information , use of projections , the recreation of Japanese morning TV, and the use of Twitter is very contemporary . Simultaneously the show also examines Japan’s complex culture and modes of expression.

Wataru Kitao , the solo performer, is amazing. He morphs from being a gorilla at the zoo to numerous other characters – train attendants, ‘Train Boy ‘( a train itself – sort of think Starlight Express), an innocent school girl trampled to death , a the girl’s mother, a TV presenter, a prostitute, her pimp and their unborn child, a lovesick teenage boy, an old grandfather with a boisterous young child … and many more all wonderfully and clearly delineated. Conversations are carried on using both spoken speech and ‘text messages ’ as translated on the back screen.

Kitao is incredibly energetic and charismatic , with his long hair dyed at the ends .He is sinuous with incredible elevation for his jumps. Martial arts like moves are included but ballet is used as a base (Yamamoto favours a wide fourth position and lots of demi plie at times ,and also some use of demi pointe – but it is fractured restructured and reworked Kitao’s jumps and turns are sensational).

Throughout the work Ei has been talking to his mother on his mobile. But it turns out she passed away several years ago ( or did she ? Is Ei also dead ? has he in fact ever existed ?

The main plot of the show follows the aftermath of a traumatic train accident at Nagai station .There is also mention of a horrific hostage crisis at Nagai library .It is gradually revealed that both events took place years ago yet the narrator can’t forget them. Throughout the performance, characters would consistently be questioned by disembodied voices asking why they should even care about the show’s events.

The work also reflects on the value of life and art – towards the end we are confronted by an ‘ artistic terrorist’ in a direct address to the audience challenging our own passive and superficially neutral observation of the play’s events. The audience was accused of being selfish and of selfishly trying to read hope and despair into what they had just seen. So what are we to make of it and what are society’s hopes for the cold, selfish future?!

Running time 90 minutes. Performed in Japanese with English surtitles.

THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD played the Eternity Playhouse on the 22nd and 23rd March.

MELBOURNE BALLET COMPANY PRESENTS ‘BEING IN TIME’ @ THE CONCOURSE

The Melbourne Ballet Company  (MBC) has been going for a decade now and this is their first visit to the Concourse with their explosive and dynamic triple bill of world premieres given the umbrella title of BEING IN TIME.

One of the important philosophical publications of our time by Martin Heidegger is the foundation for the work. The program examines the belief that philosophical thinking begins with and reflects its human subjects, in their acting, feeling, and as recognisable living human individuals. This existential understanding of being is grounded in time. Another phrase for it is ‘living in the moment’. All three short, sharp works used a recorded soundtrack. Continue reading MELBOURNE BALLET COMPANY PRESENTS ‘BEING IN TIME’ @ THE CONCOURSE

IN DIFFERENCE : DANCE ME TO THE EQUALITY OF LOVE

IN DIFFERENCE, part of FORM Dance Projects ‘ 2017 and also linked to the current Mardi Gras festival, is a challenging, at times confronting  work, dazzlingly danced by a tremendous cast, that challenges our thoughts and preconceptions in regards to  LGBTI marriage and (in) equality.

Craig Bary, with his co-creators and performers Kristina Chan, Timothy Ohl and Joshua Thomson, has devised a show that represents two real life couples, one of heterosexual and the other of homosexual orientation.

This work, through a series of ordinary and extraordinary everyday life moments, explores how we interact and express ourselves no matter what our sexual orientation is.

The bleak scaffolding set is shifted and rotated by the cast, allowing for fluid scene changes .Karen Norris‘ lighting is often shadowy and ominous. Eden Mullholland‘s soundscape thrums, beeps and pulsates, and includes songs as well as voice overs of various incendiary speeches about LGBTI marriage and equality. Continue reading IN DIFFERENCE : DANCE ME TO THE EQUALITY OF LOVE

TANGO SYNERGY AND YO YO MA-STER @ HYDE PARK NORTH

 

Several people, to escape the large crowds in the Meriton Festival Village in Hyde Park North, would escape to the refreshing spray of the Archibald  Fountain. To their delight entertainment was still at hand.

At one stage an elegantly dressed man in a white silk suit with spats on his shoes suddenly appeared. He beckoned to a female member of the ‘audience’ to join him. Then almost as suddenly Tango music began to play and the ‘couple’ glided around the Fountain.

Then just as suddenly ‘the audience’ started to tango and one vicariously enjoy the vitality of the music and the pleasure that the tango exponents exuded.

This was a ‘flash mob’ in the best sense of the word under the auspices of a group called Tango Synergy comprising members of a number of tango clubs around Sydney.

As soon as they had finished, classical music wafted through the flower beds and the fountain. A young busker, rather than simply doing his wonderful yoyo tricks ad hoc,performed them in perfect time to the music. It was a beautifully choreographed and skilfull yoyo ballet. Many coins and notes were thrown into his collection box which he richly deserved.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

FORM DANCE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘CHAMPIONS’ @ CARRIAGEWORKS

Production photography by Heidrun Lohr.

CHAMPIONS is a stonkingly good dance work … with the common touch.

It’s a large scale work with 11 dancers filling a field of dreams inside the vast space and it begins like any large scale sporting event with the team captain interview.  Sports presenter, Mel McLaughlin, well known to viewers as one of the anchors of Seven’s Olympic coverage, is on the screen wall which dominates the upstage area of the arena.  She is interviewing Carlee Mellow and we get a team update on the selections for today’s match.

Pre-game, a suitably comic and silly swan mascot has entertained the large and vocal crowd to a pounding pizzicato on the soundtrack and the audience is ready for the action.  At interval she reappears in a circular lake of light … I loved that! There are cheers and claps as the players wander on with their yoga mats to warm up.  In the same way that everyone’s a sports fan during the Olympics, this work begins with expert coverage to inform and guide us.  Mellow and McLaughlin go through each dancer stats, temperament and what they bring to the line-up while a manufactured playing, smiling, concentrating image of each woman fills the screen. Continue reading FORM DANCE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘CHAMPIONS’ @ CARRIAGEWORKS

SIRO – A @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

 

This is madcap, exuberant fun, making for marvelous school holiday fare. It is a high energy dance, techno and visual spectacular direct from Japan and these shows in Sydney are their only Australian performances.

The award-winning dance troupe have taken the world by storm, attracting millions of views on YouTube following their appearances on America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent.

SIRO_A’s unique combination of energetic dance and ground-breaking video-mapping technology – alongside a pulsating techno beat – creating an audio-visual spectacle that appeals to audiences of all ages.

Their name SIRO-A (SIRO = White, colorless in Japanese) means “belonging to no group, impossible to define as anybody.” SIRO-A fuses mime, groundbreaking visual effects, and a techno soundtrack to create a whole new entertainment, “Technodelic & Visual Show. Continue reading SIRO – A @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

BALABALA @ CARRIAGEWORKS – PART OF SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2017

This was the world premiere of BALABALA, the Indonesian sister work to CRY JAILOLO. Dressed in black, and part of a remote community in Eastern Indonesia, five young female dancers, during three minutes of complete silence, one by one slowly appeared on stage with all movements done in extreme slow motion. Choreography choices were based on Indonesian martial arts, all founded on the “Pencak Silat” philosophy of the nine directions.    

To follow, for each of the many set-pieces, each time presented extremely minimised, stylised rhythmic movement patterns, in 2/4 time or 3/4 time or 4/4 time, with pre-recorded musical accompaniment, with one voice or multiple voices delivering “A cappella music” by singing without instrumental accompaniment. However some later set-pieces also added a loop of electronica or electric bass or bass drums or temple bells or a stringed musical instrument.    Continue reading BALABALA @ CARRIAGEWORKS – PART OF SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2017

DANCER : A DOCUMENTARY ON THE GREAT UKRAINIAN DANCER SERGEI POLUNIN

“ A theatre animal with an extraordinary natural sense of belonging on the stage.” Monica Mason, former director of the Royal Ballet

Controversial twenty seven year old Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin is a Ukrainian ballet dancer who was formerly a principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet and is currently a principal dancer with the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Polunin continues to be one of the most sought-after male principals in the ballet world for his rare combination of charisma, athletic grace and authority. Continue reading DANCER : A DOCUMENTARY ON THE GREAT UKRAINIAN DANCER SERGEI POLUNIN

JO LLOYD AND NICOLA GUNN’S MERMERMER @ CARRIAGEWORKS

MERMER-picJo Lloyd and Nicola Gunn’s MERMERMER has come straight from performances in Melbourne as part of Chunky Move’s Next Move season .

The audience eavesdrops on Lloyd and Gunn’s comic rambling stream of consciousness monologues developed from what they call Conversation Therapy, created while they prepared for their interactive performance at the National Gallery of Victoria as part of Melbourne NOW. The duo keep up physical and verbal conversations simultaneously throughout the show .

The show’s title comes from English, French and Latin language roots and  has multiple meanings – memory and the sea amongst them. Continue reading JO LLOYD AND NICOLA GUNN’S MERMERMER @ CARRIAGEWORKS

SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘UNTAMED’ @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

This magnificent double bill will leave you breathless and stunned with awe at the superb performances. The brilliant Sydney Dance dancers excel themselves and are in top form.

Opening the program was Gabrielle Nankivell’s Wildebeest,  first seen in 2014 as part of New Breed.

Nankivell is based in South Australia. Darkly hypnotic and haunting, Wildebeest seeks to explore the hidden ‘beast’ of the dancers. The dancers reveal various aspects of the beast – at times they are like Ents in the forest , or a startled feral creature. Sometimes they all run herd-like.

A lone beast is fragmented and altered each time it makes contact with a nearby group. Nankivell’s choreography is very demanding and athletic. It is also very detailed with assorted avian and creature-like details. They fly, they strut, they explore their surroundings and nervously sniff the air …Some of the slick ensemble choreography is machine like, or like clogs interlocking, as the dancers trace the evolution from animal to human to machine/robot and even beyond.

Bernhard Knauer has a compelling opening solo looming out of the darkness – is he a just born creature finding his feet? – at times he is like a controlled puppet, other times he is explosively exploring space.

Cass Mortimer Eipper intently prowled and sinuously coiled and stretched like a large cat and Charmene Yap also had a tantalizing solo. There is a terrific duo from Holly Doyle and Todd Sutherland . And Janessa Dufty has an intense , gripping Shaman like closing solo.

Luke Smiles’ electronic soundscape is extremely powerful, pulsating and humming. The unisex costumes by Fiona Holley of shorts and tops were in various autumn shades and dark colours.
The second work was Bonachela’s Anima. Dazzling abstract dance, Bonachela’s work attempts to explore the boundary between form and spirit, expressed through the way the dancers utilize their extraordinary elevation and almost fly. Bonachela’s choreography is at times extremely demanding and athletic.

London based, Bulgarian born Dobrinka Tabakova’s elegant ,passionate and haunting score ( Insight for Strings trio , written 2002) was in parts driving and relentless, in other sections heartbreakingly elegiac and lyrical (hints of Tavener’s Protecting Veil). Aleisa Jelbart’s costumes looked like light sleepwear, and a couple of the men were topless. There was no set as such, rather breathtaking lighting and visuals by Clemens Habicht and Benjamin Cisterne whose lighting design glows and luminously transforms the dancers, drenching them in colour – including blinding whites, searing reds and zippy turquoises.

Slinky sculptural pas de-deux blend to astonishing trios with unusual lifts. Bonachela’s choreography demands soft feline jumps combined with long, stretched line as the dancers dart and leap. A highlight would have to be the extended tender and intimate pas de deux for Cass Mortimer Eipper and Petros Treklis with its aspects of male competition and tension, attempts to reach out and withdraw, elegantly detailed hands and an idiosyncratic use of elbows expressing physical longing and desire. Juliette Barton and Sam Young Wright followed this with another mesmerizing duo and the ensemble returned for a leaping finale.

The Sydney Dance Company’s production of UNTAMED is playing at the Roslyn Packer theatre until October 29. Running time 1 hr 45 minutes including one interval.

https://www.sydneydancecompany.com/

PEDAL.CASTLES @ THE OLD 505 NEWTOWN

The Old 505 Theatre in Newtown is hosting shows for the 2016 Sydney Fringe Festival, and PEDAL.CASTLES has created great interest since winning two awards in the NZ Fringe 2016.

PEDAL.CASTLES were created by House Of Sand production company, which also won Most Promising Emerging Company at the NZ Fringe 2016.  At its helm is dancer/performer Eliza Sanders and her brother Charles Sanders, who is the director.  PEDAL is the company’s first work and prequel to CASTLES.
Continue reading PEDAL.CASTLES @ THE OLD 505 NEWTOWN

TRAGEDIE @ CARRIAGEWORKS

Oliver Dubois’ company of dancers received warm and enthusiastic applause at the end of last Saturday nights’ performance of TRAGEDIE. As I was making my way down the stairs after the performance, a woman remarked to me. ‘that was collosal’, and I agree.

A very brave troupe of dancers, eight women and nine men, went on a journey to embrace their full/entire humanity.

Stripped of clothes, of history, of social forces, of psychological theories and blandishments, they have to rediscover themselves and each other.

The dancers stride forcefully back and forth and side to side, at various times connecting, at other times disengaging with the back curtain  used as a main prop.

The performance started with a constant, haunting drum beat and then the music turned to edgy, contemporary music.

My highlight was when the dancers all came together and started chanting in unison with a fierce, almost primal energy.

This was a mesmerising performance. TRAGEDIE played for two performances on September 2 and 3 at the main theatre in Carriageworks. This was Dubois’ only stop in Australia, part of an ongoing world tour which premiered  at the Festival d’Avignon on 23 July 2012.

 

KIBBUTZ CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘HORSES IN THE SKY’

IMGL1040Images by Ben Apfelbaum.

The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company is the glorious phoenix that grew out of the ashes of the Holocaust.

In 1973 Yehudit Arnon found a dance company in Kibbutz Ga’Aton in Northern Israel where she had settled in 1948. At Auschwitz she had been punished for refusing to dance for Nazi soldiers by being left to freeze in the snow. She promised to herself that if she survived she would dedicate her life to dance.

The late Holocaust survivor’s Company is now in the hands of dynamic Artistic Director Rami Be’er, born in Kibbutz Ga’Aton, who took over the reins in 1996.

The opening night gala performance received a standing ovation. The sixteen exceptional dancers, comprising of half Israelis  and half international dancers, performed for an hour with an  intensity and drive that would have made a second hour impossible. Performing to a broad spectrum of music ranging from Bjork to Elvis Presley, from vaudeville tp obscure pieces by Olaf Arnalds and Tim Heckler, created variegated rhythms of the different musical styles which were effortlessly matched by the exuberant, lithesome athletic and expressive movements of the Company.

As well as ensemble unity Be’Er’s choreography brought out the individuality of each performer. The dancers came in all shapes and sizes, clearly selected on merit alone, and it showed. Be’Er insists that he doesn’t create a performance that requires a certain and narrow interpretation. However, this world premiere production inspired by the lyrics of folk pop group Silver Mt Zion’s song Horses In The Sky  is clearly about a dystopian universe where, in a few pas de deuxs, love tries to flourish only to be crushed by catastrophe and madness, as symbolised by the relentless and pulsating rhythms with spurts of crazy vaudeville.

Be’Er is a Renaissance man, responsible not only for the  choreography but the staging, lighting. costume design and music selection. This creates a unity of vision that translates into an intense emotional experience, a dazzling delight for the eye and ear,

I was engrossed in his universe, loved the soundtrack and was moved by the dancers.  This short season between August 31 and September 3  sold out quickly, hopefully ensuring the speedy return of this talented company and director after this, their first and successful visit.

 

 

HIP HOP AND R & B PARTY @ HOME NIGHTCLUB SYDNEY

Are you ready?  Let the summer kick in! Party and dance to the best Hip Hop and RnB music!

DJ STEEVE ZAPPA will be in the house busting out nothing but the best and its gonna be crazyyyyyyy!

Friday 7th October @ Home Nightclub Sydney
Doors open at 9 PM SHARP!

First Release: $20

For tickets:
http://goo.gl/oSk3DF
FIRST RELEASE OUT!

Tix will be available on door too! (limited availability)
Group tickets available!

Inbox us for birthday or guest-list deals!

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DATES
Friday 7th October/ 9 PM

For more about IT’S LIT! Hip Hop and R&B Rooftop Party!, visit
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BANGARRA DANCE THEATRE TO PERFORM FREE @ BOTANICAL GARDENS IN SEPTEMBER

 

Jonathan Jones, choreographer Stephen Page, philanthropist John Kaldor
left to right – Director of Dry Skin and Bones Jonathan-Jones, Choreographer Stephen-Page, and philanthropist John-Kaldor. Image by Ben Apfelbaum.
Bangarra Dancers (1)
Bangarra Dancers. Image by Ben Apfelbaum.
Arts philanthropist John Kaldor
Arts philanthropist John Kaldor. Image by Ben Apfelbaum

Kaldor Public Art Projects recently announced Bangarra Dance Theatre will develop a site-specific performance for Jonathan Jones’ barrangal dyara (skin and bones), the 32nd Kaldor Public Art Project to be held in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden from 17 September until 3 October 2016. Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones and Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Stephen Page, will collaborate to present a performance reflecting on the loss of Sydney’s 19th century Garden Palace Building – along with countless Aboriginal cultural objects – to fire in 1882.

The performance will take place within the footprint of the original Garden Palace building along Macquarie Street in the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, demarcated by a new major sculptural and sound installation created by Jones. The project connects with many Aboriginal communities and cultural practitioners, and Munaldjali/Nunukul man, Page will respond to the themes of the work, collaborating to shed light on Australian History.

This special collaboration with Bangarra Dance Theatre will be performed free of charge on the evening of the anniversary of the Garden Palace Fire, 22 September 2016. The performance will be part of the wider barrangal dyara (skin and bones) project program, presented free to the public from 17 September – 3 October 2016 in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden.

The project is Jones’ response to the immense loss felt throughout Australia due to the destruction of these culturally significant items. It represents an effort to commence a healing process and a celebration of the survival of the world’s oldest living culture despite this traumatic event.

 

IRA GLASS THREE ACTS, TWO DANCERS, ONE RADIO HOST @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

GlassThis glorious enchanting show combines two things not usually considered as being able to be blended together – dance and radio shows.

Ira Glass is the host and creator of the public radio program This American Life. Under Glass’s editorial direction, This American Life has won the highest honours for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including five Peabody awards.

Glass’s show is heard each week by over 2.2 million listeners on more than 500 public radio stations in the United States, Australia and Canada, with another 2.2 million downloading each podcast. A television adaptation of This American Life ran on Showtime for two seasons in 2007 and 2008, winning three Emmys. Glass is one of the producers of Mike Birbiglia’s new film Don’t Think Twice,  and produced and co-wrote Birbiglia’s first film Sleepwalk with Me. Continue reading IRA GLASS THREE ACTS, TWO DANCERS, ONE RADIO HOST @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

NEDERLANDS DANCE THEATRE @ THE STATE THEATRE ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE

I was fortunate  enough to see this extraordinary performance by the legendary Nederlands Dans Theater, who are in Australia for a  very brief Melbourne only tour.

This was a thrilling, dazzling triple bill of contemporary dance.  The performance featured two works choreographed by the Company’s Artistic Director and Artistic Advisor respectively, the duo of Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot with one work by Canadian Crystal Pite. Continue reading NEDERLANDS DANCE THEATRE @ THE STATE THEATRE ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE

MR GAGA : A LOOK INSIDE THE WORLD OF OHAD NAHARIN

Mr Gaga- second

This multi award winning documentary is gloriously photographed and gives us a rare insight in to the world of world renowned choreographer Ohad Naharin, aka Mr Gaga, now in his mid sixties, who has been Artistic Director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel since 1990.

There are snippets of many of Naharin’s works (from the early Tabula Rasa to Last Work in 2015) brilliantly performed, and we are left wanting more.

It took filmmaker Tomer Heymann (Paper Dolls and Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? ) eight years to develop and perfect this extraordinary film.

MR GAGA attempts to understand the connection between the life of the choreographer and his art; reveals Naharin’s life story and his sources of inspiration. The film also discusses Naharin’s childhood on Kibbutz Mizra with some exciting early footage.

MR GAGA finds a relationship between the horrors of what he saw while serving in an army entertainment troupe during the Yom Kippur War and militaristic elements in his own work, most notably in his work Sadeh 21.

We learn how Naharin is a twin and that dance was a way to communicate with his twin brother.

Naharin’s striking abstract work has similarities to that of Pina Bausch. The documentary, in style, is similar to the great German filmmmaker Wim Wenders’ film PINA.

After his term with the army entertainment troupe, Naharin’s mother encouraged him to keep dancing. Naharin continued to study dance seriously, and ended up working, at different times, with both Martha Graham and Maurice Bejart. The film features some amazing footage of Nureyev working with Graham.

At the time Naharin struggled a little with depression. He wanted to  start creating work that he found more  personally meaningful.

Naharin started doing just that whilst living in New York. He married Mari Kajiwara in 1978 and that gave him more focus. Sadly Kaiiwara passed away in 2001 from cancer but some breathtaking footage of her dazzling performances are shown.

Naharin is now married to Eri Nakamura, a Batsheva dancer with whom he has an enchanting small daughter who we see delightfully interrupting rehearsals.

At one point the film concentrates on an episode in which Naharin’s work faced censorship when organisers of Israel’s 50th anniversary celebrations insisted he clothe his dancers more modestly. We see how the work was withdrawn by Naharin in protest at this kind of censorship/ puerile mentality.

As a result of his bold stance Naharin became something of a cultural hero in Israel, coming to the attention of many Israelis who had no interest in dance but admired his resolve.

We follow Naharin rehearsing his Company and working on new pieces. We see how he can be a harsh taskmaster, chiding his dancers for their lack of emotional commitment. (The film’s opening sequence is one where he gets a dancer to repeatedly crumple and rehearse a fall until it is completed  to his approval).

Naharin’s work blends unpredictable fractured movement, smattered bits of spoken text, social comment, and other challenging elements in an electric combination. It demands a seemingly boneless body but also one that has the ability of extreme control.

Riveting footage of performances are included – Naharin, at times, appears to conjure other worlds, and employs strong visual images. Examples are his use of the row in Tabula Rasa, the pas de deux for a man and a women representing human and beast , and in Anaphase.  There is also the use of accordions in The Sinking of the Titanic and his concern for the environment in Pas de Pepsi.

The “Gaga” of the title defines the unique style and language of dance movement that Naharin invented, which is used by Batsheva as well as dance troupes and non-dancers around the world. Naharin proclaims that Gaga is accessible to the masses, and that dance has the power to heal. The nature and various applications of  Gaga are somewhat briefly and confusingly explained even though there is a brief appearance by A-list Natalie Portman spruiking it.

MR GAGA leaves us with a portrait of very charismatic artist, rather distant and aloof, seldom solemn, but a touch arrogant.

This was a fascinating documentary. MR GAGA screened as part of this years’ Sydney Film Festival.

The standard image of charismatic Naharin is one that is rather distant and aloof, somewhat solemn and perhaps arrogant but this documentary gives us a rare, fascinating glimpse behind the curtain.

Mr GAGA screens as part of the Sydney Film Festival 12 and 13 June 12, 2016 Running time 100 mins.  A Heyman Brothers Films production. (International sales: East Village Entertainment, New York.) Produced by Barak Heymann. Executive producer, Diana Holtzberg.

RESET – A NEW DOCUMENTARY ON BENJAMIN MILLEPIED

Ballet

This  is a wonderful, quite mesmerising  dance documentary screening as part of the Sydney Film Festival.

RESET is an intimate, behind the scenes look at the work of Benjamin Millepied. Many people will know Millepied for his work on the movie Black Swan  and his marriage to the film’s lead actress Natalie Portman. At the time of the filming Millepied was the Artistic Director of the Paris Opera Ballet. We follow his journey up to the gala premiere of his new work Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward (This piece was reviewed by me for the Guide when it screened in November last year).

There are wonderful sequences of the dancers in class and rehearsal. We learn about the decision process that went through in choosing sixteen of the dancers from the Corps de Ballet. We also learn about the long history of the Paris Opera Ballet, its importance in the ballet world and how Millepied how has been attempting to introduce changes to the Company’s bureaucracy. (See the movie La Danse for the previous regime). Continue reading RESET – A NEW DOCUMENTARY ON BENJAMIN MILLEPIED

TAIKOZ PERFORMS CHI UDAKA @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA

 

CHI-UDAKA

Following its critically acclaimed world premiere at the 2014 Sydney Festival, Taikoz will be touring their cross-cultural masterpiece Chi Udaka nationally, including Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres on June 25th & 26th.

A collaboration between Taikoz and the Lingalayam Dance Company, Chi Udaka is a dynamic, inter-cultural feast for the senses, seamlessly combining the intense rhythm and drama of the Japanese taiko drums with the complex and intricate movements of South Indian classical dance. Continue reading TAIKOZ PERFORMS CHI UDAKA @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA

LIMITLESS DANCE COMPANY PRESENTS BOTH SIDES @ NIDA PLAYHOUSE THEATRE KENSINGTON

Featured photo – Jennifer Horvath and Chris Mifsud. Pic by Seshanka Samarajwa.

Imogen Tapara, Olivia Kingston, Vanessa Ghazal, Maddie Tratt, Rowan Rossi and Raegan Williams. Pic by Seshanka Samarajwa Photography.
Imogen Tapara, Olivia Kingston, Vanessa Ghazal, Maddie Tratt, Rowan Rossi and Raegan Williams. Pic by Seshanka Samarajwa Photography.
Jennifer Horvath and Chris Mifsud. Pic by Seshanks Samarajwa.

With BOTH SIDES, dance lovers  were treated to a memorable evening of cutting edge contemporary dance.

Directed and choreographed by the very talented Limitless Dance Company Artistic Director Mitchell Turnbull,  an excellent troupe of twelve versatile and athletic dancers  performed seven pieces in each half exploring the nature of relationships, the comings and goings, alliances and fallouts, and how these experiences help shape our existence.

The show’s title refers to a very contemporary theory that in every relationship there are two sides, the side that the couple let the world see, and the world that they keep to themselves.

The performance featured the combined talents of dancers Vanessa Ghazal, Jennifer Horvath, Olivia Kingston, Maddison McKenzie, Chris Mifsud, Genevieve Morris, Tahlia Roccazzella, Rowan Rossi, Megan Scheffers, Imogen Tapara, Maddie Tratt and Raegan Williams.

Mitchell Turnbull formed the Limitless Dance Company, an independent dance company, with the aim of pushing the boundaries of dance both artistically and conceptually, as well as making available more paid work for Australian contemporary dancers.

BOTH SIDES played the NIDA Playhouse Theatre  Kensington for three performances, on Friday 20 May at 7.30pm, and Saturday 21 May at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

For more information about this exciting and adventurous new dance company visit their website-

http://www.limitlessdance.com.au

Chris Mifsud and Jennifer Horvath. Pic Michelle Grace Hunter Photography
Rowan Rossi and Imogen Tapara. Pic by Michelle Grace Hunter Photography