What lets you and me connect heart to estranged heart, soul to broken soul, flesh to bestial flesh?

What tears you and discordant me apart?

Where do struggling bodies engage nakedly with one another’s pathos and find each other to be gentleness?

Why do you and I avert each other’s most intimate, most beautiful lust?

Why do you and I shed each other like dry leaves blown by the wind?

How do you and I see, smell and touch each other’s subtle trembling and wild tremors?


Old Life Dead Life, the new performance piece presented by Sydney Experimental Arts Ensemble, explores these questions viscerally through the flow, conflict, confusion, travail, disconnection, synthesis and realisation of contemporary dance.

Director Eliza Cooper, together with six emerging young dancers, take the audience on a journey into the bowels of the earth, from which primordial being emerges, the elements of life rebound ricocheting off each other, fumble and fail to catch each other, inopportunely intersect, finally land in the soles of each other’s sensuous feet.

The score, composed by dancer Mason Peronchik, would have been even more hauntingly evocative had the volume of the music been sensitively modulated to reflect the ebb and flow of the dancers’ movement.

In a similar vein, thoughtfully matching and harmonising the dancers’ costumes would have heightened the interplay of the dancers’ engagement with each other.

Finally, an even deeper exploration of the intimate, visceral interconnection of dancer to dancer would have been exquisite.

Old Life Dead Life is at the Old 505 Theatre in Newtown until the 25th May.