‘Mastery of motion’ amid world-premiere performances

From “The shell, A ghost, The Host & The Lyrebird.” Picture: Pedro Grieg.

Dance / “Ascent”, Sydney Dance Firm. At The Playhouse, till March 11. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

IT’S commonplace for corporations to premiere new works in Canberra.

We’re the nationwide capital in spite of everything. Nevertheless, it’s uncommon for the Sydney Dance Firm to premiere one in every of its works exterior Sydney. Actually, that is the primary time the corporate has executed this within the 15 years Rafael Bonachela has been its creative director.

“Ascent” accommodates two world premieres. Bonachela’s personal new work, “I Am-ness”;  and the primary Australian-commissioned work by Spanish choreographer, Marena Mascarell, “The Shell, A Ghost, The Host and the Lyrebird”.  The third work on this triple invoice is a revival of Antony Hamilton’s 2018 Helpmann Award successful masterwork, “Without end & Ever”.

The night commenced on a meditative word with the opening strains of Peteris Vasks’ “Lonely Angel” filling the darkened theatre to herald Bonachela’s “I Am-ness”. Because the curtain slowly rose, 4 dancers had been revealed, immobile on a haze-filled stage. They started to reply to the music forming advanced sculptural patterns, participating and disengaging with one another with fantastically managed and co-ordinated motion enhanced by Damien Cooper’s moody lighting design.

“I Am-ness” is basic Bonachela. One other placing showcase of  his mastery of motion during which he works with 4 completely attuned dancers, Naiara de Matos, Piran  Scott, Madeline Harms and Riley Fitzgerald to create an summary visualisation of the music, so stunning and compelling as to make it unattainable to hearken to this music once more with out the picture of those dancers working by means of the thoughts.

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By the use of distinction, Marina Mascarell’s gorgeous creation, “The Shell, A Ghost, The Host & The Lyrebird” contained little or no precise dance as such. As a substitute Mascarell supplied a strikingly stunning summary staging involving hectares of ropes and cloth manipulated by 9 dancers to create, what gave the impression to be, a storm at sea.

The outstanding set and costumes designed by Lauren Brincat and Leah Giblin definitely had a nautical flavour with crimson, white, and blue highlights featured prominently, whereas Damien Cooper’s atmospheric lighting design and Nick Wales impressionistic soundtrack. which featured naturalistic sounds of creaking wooden, sea birds and wind among the many orchestrations, heightened this impression.

All through the work the dancers wrestled with the ropes and materials to create ever-changing stage photos, sometimes swaying facet to facet as if blown by wind, whereas fascinating with their capacity to keep away from potential catastrophe.

Rounding out this triple-bill, a welcome revival of Anthony Hamilton’s extra-ordinary 2018 creation, “Without end and Ever”, which commences even earlier than a lot of the viewers have resumed their seats after interval.  Returning to their seats the viewers is startled to note lone dancer, Jesse Scales, earnestly practising placing strikes on the unlit stage.  A flash of sunshine heralds the reveal of the stark black and white stage. Scales exits as a line of dancers, ominously costumed in big black or white full-length puffer jackets, slowly take the stage.

Paula Levis’ outstanding costume design is impressed by babushka dolls, and because the work progresses the puffer jackets are eliminated to disclose extra layers, firstly  shiny yellow and black, then crimson and black, till the dancers end in easy transient black apparel.

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