SHORT+SWEET REVIEW: Week 2

Some very strange and bizarre work, some very exciting performances for week two of Short Sweet+Dance.
SHORT+SWEET REVIEW: Week 2
Some very strange and bizarre work, some very exciting performances for week two of Short Sweet+Dance. The main session started off very strongly with the excellent, intriguing work Dirty Laundry choreographed by Allie Gunton. It was incredibly intense and acrobatic with Gunton and Jason Liu-Brennan entangled in a duet in a Hills hoist suspended from the ceiling. The dancers in black hang like bats or are caught spider-like in the web of their emotions and relationship. The Shadow of Demise by Katelyn Boshell was a very odd piece - a murder mystery being dictated by the author trying out various ideas (e.g. drowning under the ice, electrocution, food poisoning), frightening us with various statistics and concluding with the protagonist being murdered by her own shadow. Quite bizarre, rather dramatic in red and black outfits with wild bruised eyes for the mad, evil 'shadow', it was a most interesting idea but it just didn't quite come off. Arriving choreographed by Angela Hill was a wonderful solo performed by Jayne McCann in a white top with silver pants. The atmosphere was that she was searching for something. McCann has a marvelous, fluid line and fabulous arms. Jeni Sutton's Wait was very sharp and on the beat, quite Meryl Tankard in style at times. The atmosphere was of a doctor's waiting room but also had the catty air of backstage at a fashion show or the schoolroom (or, as we are meant to read it from the programme notes, a French restaurant). One of the dancers was shown as heavily pregnant and were the table napkins at the end meant to represent blood? Figment, a nightmare fairy tale choreographed by Jodie McNeilly, began extremely well with an eeerie stretched hand but rather disintigrated afterwards. What was the siginificance of the 18th Century powdered and bewigged lady who descends from the upper gallery? What was the meaning of the wolf and the egg? And why the change at the end to a nightclub atmosphere? Sup-port by Sean Marcs, four dancers and just two small white tables, was volcanically explosive- an intense exploration of relationships between two couples. To breathy Marilyn Monroe, Ash Bee's 'Blonde Ambition' was a terrific deconstruction of the beauty myth, with the dancers in hairnets, body control underwear and full makeup fighting over a wig and high heeled shoes. Battlefield choreographed and performed by Lorena Otes and Damien Grima, was a gripping portrayal of a couple's intimate relationship especially during sleep. Kat Sagar-Kleine's You, me… and the space between us, which I read as being about friendship and the breaking down of barriers, was partly performed in silence and had lovely autumn toned costumes with some terrific choreography (e.g. there was a repeated, hesitant touch on the shoulder from behind). The Cheerleader by Tamarah Tossey blended social comment, political satire and burlesque in a hyper, over excited solo. The Wildcards session before this began very impressively with the Graham-like Kabuki inspired choreography of James Batchelor and Emma Batchelor's From the Ashes. Evoking a phoenix rising from the ashes, or a plant regenerating after a fire, it was very dramatic in red and black and had a marvelous sense of flowing movement and some wonderful jumps. Prost opened in a stark, large circle of light with choreographer and performer Nerida Godfrey in a white top and frilly green shorts, A wonderful slinky exploration of movement, very European flavoured in style, inlcuding the 'chicken dance' it was intriguing but didn't really go anywhere. A 'structured solo improvisation' with swirling, swooping arms and a pose-y model pout, at times like a praying mantis, Parade was performed and choreographed by Natalie Abbott in a short dark blue dress. Sean Marc's The Office had a good idea (a frenzied day at the office) and tried to capture the horror of being trapped in the daily grind. It had some good characterization but at times with its huge cast was a bit messy and overdone, is a bit flat perhaps. Imogen Cranna's delightful Infusion was a wonderful romantic, lyrical solo for a woman of 19th century Australia, waiting for her lover, who is captivated by the moon. The hypnotic Night Wandering by James Batchelor and Emma Batchleor was about dreams and the space between dreams and reality with the cast in blue and white striped pajamas. Fight for control brought the performance to a close with pulsating red lights and a sleek, vehement display of hip hop. Short+Sweet Dance 2009 Week 2 SS+D week 1: 24-28 February SS+D week 2: 3-7 March SS+D week 3: 10-14 March Venue: Seymour Centre Downstairs Theatre | Corner of City Rd and Cleveland St Chippendale Times: Tues-Sat 8pm, Sat 4pm Tickets: $28/$23 concession Bookings: Seymour Centre Box Office 02 9351 7940 | www.seymourcentre.com.au Visit: www.shortandsweet.org

Lynne Lancaster

Wednesday 11 March, 2009

About the author

Lynne Lancaster is a Sydney based arts writer who has previously worked for Ticketek, Tickemaster and the Sydney Theatre Company. She has an MA in Theatre from UNSW, and when living in the UK completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells, linked in with Chichester University.