Contemporary Dance Re-Invented
Last night my wife, daughter and I were treat to a smorgasbord of contemporary dance. EDC (Expressions Dance Company) invited several artists and choreographers from across Australia in a 2 week festival of dance aimed at exploring new and creative ways to express themselves as artists.
SOLO, as the name implies simply focused on solo works where one choreographer would work with one dancer. More often than not, it was a dancer they had never worked with before. These experimental pieces were raw, visual and totally engaging.
We sadly couldn’t make Week One of the Festival due to other commitments, however Week Two was divine. The evening commenced at 7.30pm with Benjamin Champan dancing one of Elise May’s pieces. It was a great show starter and the musical score was dynamic. Benjamin has the ability to draw you in as a dancer and his subtle interpretations made this piece memorable.
Next was the formidable Jack Ziesing who has really developed as an EDC dancer in the coming years. His solo was entitled, Point of Return by Antony Hamilton. In this routine he danced a slow and deliberate popping style routine. A laser pointer seemed to guide him around the floor and his connection with the beam was never broken. This routine would of been difficult to dance given the ‘quirky’ style and attention to stage position. Highly commended effort Jack.
Jill Ogai performed “Extro Solo” by Tim Harbour. This extroverted dance had the right blend to make this a showstopper but for me it missed the mark. I didn’t feel the audience connection and the blurred lines between contemporary and ballet stayed blurred for the entire piece. As a dancer Jill performed well but I was lost in this piece.
The sparkling Elise May stole the floor with a Narelle Benjamin piece this fit her style like a hand fits a glove. Elise adds depth to every character she plays and her floor movement was brilliant.
Cloudia Elder from QUT performed “Human Fly” by Csaba Buday. The musical score and seductive nature of this piece transported me into a boudoir in Paris. A sultry, sexy and alluring dance by a dancer with a promising future.
My favourite piece of the night was Daryl Brandwood’s piece by Daniel Jaber. “Anatomically Incorrect” focuses on the dancers body and how dance moulds a human body into unnatural positions. The voice over at the end was ‘brilliant’. I talked about this piece on the way home with my partner. Totally mesmerizing!
Honourable mentions to James Vu Anh Pham from Chunky Move who gave 200% in his solo. His energy was breathtaking. Also to Sarah Aitken who has a core of steel after manipulating four 2 metre plus cardboard cylinders on her limbs. Her control and grace was delightful to watch.
Natalie Weir and the team at EDC work tirelessly to give audiences ‘new experiences’. The SOLO Festival is a ‘must see’ if you are a lover of contemporary dance. In one room you can view the best choreographers and brightest starts in Australia.
Book your tickets through QPAC. Show end this Saturday 24th May 2014.
Reviewer: Philip Reece (Dancehub)