“UNTIL is about the urgency I feel as an artist, as an African American…and as a resident of Chicago, Illinois. All too often we are faced with a history…in which gun violence pervades our streets in the hands of both civilians and law enforcement. This abuse of power – and of gun control laws – leads to far too many eulogies of Afro-Americans on the news and in our hearts. Bu ‘UNTIL is also about how it is up to the community to come together…to try and overcome and to offer solutions.” Nick Cave
A turn on the phrase ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ or in the case of Black America ‘guilty until proven innocent’, UNTIL examines the complex issues of race relations, gun violence and gender politics that fracture the USA and some other communities around the world.
Sydney is fortunate that Nick Cave and Carriageworks have struck up a relationship whereby we have previously seen other examples of his beautiful, immersive and thought provoking installations.
One of the major highlights of this year’s Festival of Sydney, this stunning show is a hypnotic, cross-cultural music and dance collaboration, where the audience are also performers. ONE INFINITY blends traditional Chinese music and contemporary dance, the audience an essential part of the performance, in an intricate, mirroring dialogue.
It started with the music: Australian recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey working with Chinese guqin master Wang Peng, and later English composer Max de Wardener and the Jun Tian Fang Music Ensemble.
Eventually they decided their work required a sense of theatre and engaged Gideon Obarzanek as choreographer and director who brought together 10 dancers from Townsville-based Dancenorth and the Beijing Dance Theatre.
When we enter we discover that the audience is divided into two sides and the assorted musical instruments are on stage. There is a glossy reflective covering on the floor like a dividing river.
As director-choreographer Gideon Obarzanek informs us at the start of the performance, the audience does not just watch ONE INFINITY but is an integral part of the work. We are briefed to copy the gestures made by two dancers (Amber Haines and Gao Jing) when they are spotlit throughout the show. Continue reading ONE INFINITY @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
Shakira Clanton is outstanding In Henrietta Baird’s harrowing one-woman play, THE WEEKEND. She dances, swears, laughs and cries as she tells Lara’s story of her search, in various pockets of Redfern, for her wayward husband. She embodies the voices of a variety of women, men and children. These various characters are full of personality and contrasts. Drug use is prevalent in this community and Shakira captures the different levels of degradation apparent in their voices as she searches through some decrepit drug dens in the towers of Redfern. Her performance as Lara captures her humanity, foibles, humour and determination of this wonderfully written character.
This play focuses on the conflicts of a mother who loves her children and goes interstate for three weeks work so that she can provide for them. She leaves them in the care of her partner Simon, the children’s father, but his drug addiction leads him to abandoning the children. She has seen many admirable aspects of Simon but as she discovers the drug houses he frequents and the women he has relationships with she begins to realise more about the situation and about herself. Continue reading THE WEEKEND @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
The 2019 Sydney Festival has started with a bang and one of the major events is the Australian premiere of La Passion de Simone . Written by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, with a libretto in French by Amin Maaloufit it is presented at Carriageworks by Sydney Chamber Opera in association with The Song Company.
Musically and visually superb, it is a powerful and hypnotic production.Directed by Imara Savage it looks at the life of Simone Weil , who was an intellectual, Marxist and pacifist, philosopher, political activist and mystic whose despair at the course of world events led her to starve herself and pass away in 1943 aged just 34. Weil died of tuberculosis after weakening herself by fasting in sympathy with the starving people of France, having spent the preceding decade travelling through Nazi Germany and revolutionary Spain in an attempt to understand the causes and nature of oppressive régimes.
After involvement in the Spanish Civil War, Weil, a secular Jew, converted to Christianity, fleeing France with her family during World War II and working with the French Resistance from London.
The show is based in the Passion Play tradition with episodes of Weil’s life linked to the Stations of the Cross. One scene includes how she worked for a while in a factory among the oppressed workers then rejected the robotic, virtually forced labour. Continue reading LA PASSION DE SIMONE @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
RESONANT BODIES is a festival of new vocal music founded in New York in 2013 to exhibit the shape-shifting power of the human voice. It was initiated by American singer Lucy Dhegrae to display what the human voice is capable of and to give a platform to adventurous vocalists. The festival has now occurred in various locations and this is the first time it has come to Sydney. Carriageworks is the ideal location. Take something familiar and give it an ambitious new twist.
RESONANT BODIES FESTIVAL invites vocalists to curate and perform their own 45 minute sets, with no restrictions on repertoire, style or format. On Saturday night the featured vocalists were Australian artist Mitchell Riley and American artist Ariadne Greif. Continue reading RESONANT BODIES FESTIVAL AT CARRIAGEWORKS→
As the cream of international and local fashion experts flocked to Sydney to experience yet another fashion extravaganza of lavish runway shows during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA), just how did our prolific designers meet the task of showcasing to the world, the best of our homegrown talent and top labels.
There were some 40 runway shows in 4 ½ days of MBFWA with each show costing between $50-$100,000. Australian designers who could afford these costs had the platform opportunity to present a brand vision and push home their wares building crucial sales and connections to impress the strong contingent of international press and buyers who regularly come here to scout for fresh talent and new ideas.Continue reading MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEK AUSTRALIA 2018→
Sydney was privileged to see this astonishing evening of powerful hypnotic dance by Meg Stuart in an evening of short solo works.
An Evening of Solo Works (2013) presents a selection of these former solo works, as well as excerpts from evening-length performances. Stuart over her career has created over thirty works and through her company Damaged Goods has performed all over the world since 1994. Works include VIOLET, Built to Last , UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP and others. Continue reading Meg Stuart : An Evening of Solo Works→
THE BACKSTORIES is a rare glimpse behind the public persona of one of the most influential Australians in women’s football, Moya Dodd, as she shares the experiences that have shaped her life. Originally commissioned and presented by Adelaide Festival, THE BACKSTORIES comes to Carriageworks for three performances in February. Friday2 February 8pm and Saturday 3 February 2pm, 8pmContinue reading THE BACKSTORIES: MOYA DODD IN FOCUS→
It’s not for everyone, but maybe it should be. This chow is a symphony of sophisticated naivety, slapstick with a bitch slap, a carnival of two, the accomplished performance artists, Jo-Ann Lancaster and Simon Yates.
Quite a mixed bill in this latest presentation by Sydney Dance , the fourth presentation of NEW BREED – something for everyone yet challenging and provoking .
First up was Bell Jar choreographed and performed by Cass Mortimer Eipper and Nelson Earl . Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s work in some ways it is about confronting one’s inner demons. It was very macho yet intimate , strong and sweaty, very powerful and thrillingly performed with hints of violence hidden below the surface. The two were topless and in dark trousers In some ways it was as if they were two halves of a whole and Earl was trying to escape perhaps.
It was slithery, fast and furious with sinuous arms and a martial arts feel at times. Other sections featured the use of angular elbows, or sculptural silhouette . The music by Marco Cher-Gibard at times crashed and roared. There was an emotionally powerful ending with Earl perhaps dying in Mortimer-Eipeer’s arms.
Next came Petros Treklis’ The Art of Letting Go .” 7 dancers portraying one man and his mind”.It opened with a fantastic solo for Sam Young-Wright looming out of the darkness. The seven wore grey outfits. In some ways it is perhaps reminiscent of Murphy’s ‘Purgatory ‘ . Choreographically the work featured fluid, slinky movement , exciting ensemble work , runs , some striking , dangerous lifts … isolation movements are included , as well as stylized repeated small movements .There is an atmosphere of love and loss . It concludes with more tumultuous slinky , ensemble work.
Tyrone Earl Lrae Robinson’s strange [bio]Curious was first after interval , which he informs us in the program notes is attempting to question the relationship we have with the natural world. I found it coolly clinical yet simultaneously stylised and extremely sensual.
It opens with Chloe Leong like a goddess in the bath , in a heavily stylized and textured leotard , who entices with a slinky , sensual solo ( echoes perhaps of Murphy’s Some Rooms ? ) . Nelson Earl appears and there are slithery pas de deux . The set is of plants mostly in display cases but some on a table and there is much symbolic use of the plants – sniffing , tasting etc . Their tryst is interrupted by Davide Di Giovanni in a black floral mask – a reference perhaps to the serpent and garden of Eden ?
Melanie Lane’s WOOF with its pulsating music by Clark , flickering lights and sculptural lines explores various intellectual and physical ideas , with fine ensemble work by all . While WOOF is perhaps a little long Lane reveals enormous potential. It strives to express ‘ the fantasy of a post-human collective spirit ‘ and has a cast of twelve. Aleisa Jelbart’s delicate ghostly white costumes become dirty by the end because of the blackened hands of the dancers .
There are allusions to Baroque paintings and Bangarra perhaps , with allusions to other past pop dance and art ‘schools’ which gradually develops into a pastiche of contemporary and includes lots of fast , fiddly footwork . Choreographically it also included lots of runs , fast furious jumps and lots of walks and sections on high demi pointe. At times the ensemble writhed sculpturally, at others they split into smaller groups of trios or quartets . Absorbing .
Sydney Dance NEW BREED runs at Carriageworks 30 November – 9 December 2017
What a bumper way to start the first act of RESTORATION. After some very impressive warm ups in the large space, the dancers spread out around the stage, some at the barre in the centre of the arena. What hits the speakers? Big Spender from Sweet Charity and they look great! It will be a first act of surprises and a second act of certainty and culture.
NAISDA is a dance school providing world class expertise in cultural and creative training. The college is graduating elite dancers who have culture as a bedrock for their arts practice. The graduating artists whose work is showcased in RESTORATION are Lillian Banks, Shana O’Brien, Bradley Smith, Mendia Kermond and Jye Uren. Remember those names. These are the stars of the very, very near future.