Company D of Short + Sweet dance showcased some very strong, exciting work that was full of challenging, thought provoking discoveries.
It opened with a film entry ,‘Traces’ choreographed by Graeme Spencer. Traces of memories of movement in haunted rooms , a lot of it lyrical and elegiac. There was much use of fancy photographic techniques and blurry images .What one could see of the actual dance and performance itself was terrific .
A special mention must be made of the next piece, the amazing ‘Jaybird’ , choreographed and performed by Jay Bailey, which is an astonishing, breathtaking hip hop/breakdance reworking of classical ballet allusions , in particular the Fokine ‘Dying Swan ‘ and Petipa’s ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Jay in blue feather like costume gave an incredibly energetic performance with a sizzling yet fluid line and marvellous jumps . There was dramatic lighting and very effective use was made of silhouette. L.C. Beats gave an exceptional performance with the beats sound effects counts etc on the hand held mike.
‘No Fungus No Tree’ choreographed by Sean Marcs and Anna Healey was possibly Australian Dance Theatre/Gary Stewart in style and had a throbbing, pulsating soundtrack . Fast, frenzied movements were contrasted with tiny ,delicate ones (eg fingers tentatively walking up an arm). At times it was almost a waltz .Some of the movements were almost robotic, and there were lots of isolation movements, others were slipper sliding movements and there was excellent partnering .
‘Hard Boiled Wonderland’ choreographed and performed by tall, blonde and leggy Amber McCartney was an amazing solo that combined isolation movements and breakdancing with a sensational use of energised arms .In some ways it was as if she was trapped in an invisible vertical box.At other times she appeared to be a computer avatar. An interesting use of UV light for the second half was also featured.
‘Nyunga’s’ soundtrack bubbled and burbled .You caught the feeling of it being a boiling hot day .The quartet of dancers performed snazzy interlocking repeated phrases of movements and there appeared to be an Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander traditional dance influence in addition to one section which had fast frenetic Flamenco like hand claps.
‘Melech’ choreographed and performed by seemingly boneless Harrison Hall had some snappy dramatic light changes and some challenging floorwork. It began where Hall in a grey costumes was hunched and seemingly trapped, a sad clown ? an escaped ‘Petrushka’?
‘Bond’ choreographed by Laura Jackson had three couples in sinuous,rippling movement – three stages of their relationship? Slo-mo was used and at times there was an intense or dreamlike feeling .Some of the duets for the couples were most impressive.
‘On My Own Terms’ by Caterina Mocciola and Jay Bailey had an intense, concentrated atmosphere- was it ‘about’ the breakup of a relationship? .There was slinky ,intimate movement contrasted with the performers almost flying and a backwards run was also included .
‘Out of No Thing ‘, the concluding work choreographed by Rochelle Carmichael was strong, powerful and dramatic. The cast wore simple yet elegant black costumes .Choreographically at times there were laser sharp movements, a frieze like line at one point , some writhing ,sculptural tableaux and some most unusual lifts. Mini duets and trios featured rolling floorwork .Did I detect a possible Bonachela influence combined with Butoh ? One to watch out for.
Short + Sweet Dance Company D played at the New Theatre Jan 31 and Feb 1 2014
Running time – two hours (approx) including interval