LeNa Dance Company, What’s In The Box
Joe Lott, Tender
Dynamic Eclipse Arts, Forever And A Day – In Loving Memory Of….
This Resolution! bill takes us deep into the human mind, heart and soul. A look into the recesses of our subconscious mind is followed by a trio dispelling hero stereotypes. The night ends with an ensemble piece depicting the never-ending relationship between two souls that resonate with each other.
Forever And A Day – In Loving Memory Of… begins with the Max Richter strings that many companies have taken to this season, and has its ensemble of ten dancers perform affective reaches and contractions in unison. The central couple joins in the terpsichorean emoting, portraying a difficult yet determined relationship. Then, in a turn of events, the performers start popping, locking, and jamming, looking much more at ease and lighting up the stage with a refreshing effervescence. Nothing can separate this tormented couple, reunited amidst the flurry of elbows and dizzying footwork. Like a benign tumour, the piece made an impression - a mild, insignificant one.
Superman was simply Clark Kent, and Cinderella was the most ordinary of girls. Yet they are regarded as heroes. Joe Lott’s Tender asks the question: what lies beneath their steely exteriors and porcelain faces? The trio of dancers executed angular movement sequences, paying tribute to Spiderman as their fingers crept across their bodies. Bookended by video clips of a free-spirited girl in an open field, Tender is a reminder that even heroes have the right to dream.
The information in an aircraft’s black box cannot be easily erased, and is hugely valuable in investigations. Our minds are our black boxes, and LeNa Dance Company unleashes the wild thoughts that are hidden in them. Cornelia Voglmayr and Flora Barros play the thoughts in our mind in a translucent black cube on stage. Restricted and suppressed, they eventually erupt in aggressive tantrums and uncontrollable fits of laughter. The pair reflect the inner turmoil of the performers outside the cube, whose occasional twitch and look of distraught exposes their discomfort within their own skin.
As we wait for the lights to go down, we’re plunged into an aural environment of neurotic, foreign-accented female voices. When they finally do, it’s startling to see the owners of the voices, trapped upstage, in a black transparent cube. The two women in white vests and shorts menacingly pace about their restricted cell, muttering streams of consciousness, which range from observations about the mundane to disconcerting screams of hysteria. Are they off their faces on magic mushrooms or do they embody our subconscious fears and desires? Dancers outside the box glide in fluid dream like sequences, their physical language in sharp contrast to the impulsive, stunted dynamics of their damaged psyches. Leonie Nadler’s exposition of our fragile mental condition is torturous, gripping and unnervingly convincing.
Joe Lott’s Tender takes on the subject of ‘the hero’, inspired by Joseph Campbell’s non-fictional book The Hero With a Thousand Faces. The patterns of hero behaviour, emotions and action are traced through abstract choreography performed efficiently by a woman and two men. It’s an inspired idea to use a juicy topic, but hard to compete with such a ground-breaking text. While the roles of the first male and female ‘heroes’ are clear as they battle through adventures, that of the third male is puzzling, even redundant. A refreshing film of water-logged fields and forests adds a picturesque back drop, but nothing more, and overall the potential inherent in the theme is lost.
In spite of the distracting whoops and cheers from Dynamic Eclipse Art’s supporters, I’m soon won over by this large and youthful company. Dancing is consistently strong and conveyed with heaps of enthusiasm. Comparing life-sucking tumours with clawing human emotions, Forever And A Day – In Loving Memory Of…propels its performers melodramatically through a sea of clichés: a tragic love story, a fight against good and evil, death and resurrection. There’s also too much schmaltzy music but it’s great entertainment and a welcoming finish to a pretty intense evening.