Dance Get together cruise is a moveable feast

Yolanda Lowatta at Reconciliation Place. Photograph: Invoice Stephens

Dance / “Tradition Cruise”, Australian Dance Get together. On Lake Burley Griffin, subsequent session February 4. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

AN invitation from the Australian Dance Get together to spend half a day experiencing “a spectacular artwork tour and cruise to make your senses dance” on Lake Burley Griffin was too good to refuse. 

The ADP is an progressive activist dance firm that specialises in creating site-specific performances round Canberra and its environs. 

I’ve loved performances by ADP at Mt Majura Photo voltaic Farm (freezing), Mt. Stromlo Observatory (charming), a secret warehouse in Fyshwick (elegant) and the Australian Nationwide Botanic Gardens (memorable). 

The corporate’s latest enterprise, “Tradition Cruise” is the brainchild of its chief and director, Alison Plevey who, along with co-director Sara Black, developed the idea during which, though dance is integral to the idea, the cruise is just not strictly a dance work however moderately an progressive try to create a novel expertise weaving collectively parts of town’s visible artwork, structure, reside efficiency, meals and wine. 

Ryan Stone and Stefanie Lekkas on the Excessive Courtroom forecourt. Photograph: Invoice Stephens

After being checked off and issued with vibrant orange identification badges, our group was greeted by host and storyteller, Stefanie Lekkas, who ushered us on to “The Gull” and launched us to the skipper, Captain Jim, who defined that the Gull had been initially constructed by its first proprietor as a fishing vessel, circa 1921 however since then transformed to a snug, 28-seat passenger vessel, powered by electrical motors.

Lekkas, in mystical story-teller mode, centered consideration on the fantastic thing about the environment whereas Captain Jim proffered extra prosaic and entertaining particulars in regards to the nationwide establishments we encounter alongside the journey, together with the Braille tiles on the partitions of the Nationwide Museum, the renovations to the Captain Cook dinner water fountain, and people extra bells put in within the Nationwide Carillon. 

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As soon as on the opposite aspect of Lake Burley Griffin we disembarked to start a brief stroll to Reconciliation Place, the place the primary efficiency artist, former Bangarra dancer Yolanda Lowatta, costumed in dazzling orange, centered consideration on the importance and objective of Reconciliation Place earlier than beckoning us to comply with her via the sequence of artworks depicting vital occasions in First Nations historical past that encompass the central mound.

On arrival on the Nationwide Portrait Gallery, we had been handled to an summary efficiency by sound artist, Liam Budge, and dancers Ryan Douglas Stone and Lowatta, this time clad in refined costume designs by Aislinn King every that includes a contact of orange. This straightforward design gadget neatly linked all of the members. Keep in mind your badge?

After a 40-minute viewing of the portrait exhibition “Who Are You”, Stone once more captivated along with his athletic dance interpretations, firstly of the Excessive Courtroom and later of the Nationwide Gallery’s Calder sculpture, earlier than main us with yet one more dance efficiency to the Water’s Edge Restaurant for a leisurely lunch.

Again on the Gull, Captain Jim welcomed us on board earlier than ferrying us again to the Nationwide Museum the place Budge was ready to serenade us. Following some remaining farewell remarks from Lekkas, we headed into the museum for an exploration of the “Nice Southern Land” exhibition. 

So does the Cultural Cruise reside as much as its promise? From my expertise, it does. Memorable options included the meticulous consideration to element, the supply of chairs on the efficiency factors, and permitting ample time to savour the exhibitions.

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The performances themselves had been skilful and assorted as had been the narrations by Lekkas, which had been informative, uncluttered, usually poetical, selling a way of inquiry moderately than offering solutions. 

Australian Dance Get together has cleverly subverted a well-recognized exercise into a novel and satisfying inventive expertise excellent for savouring as a private indulgence, or as one thing to share with a pal or fastidious customer.

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Ian Meikle, editor