Emi Forster in ROBOSAPIEN. Pic Kay Armstrong

For one night only, Jun4, 2012, a most exciting program of five short new works was presented at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music by You Move and the Conservatorium, ‘ Dance Meeets Music : Solo Series 2012 ‘ .

Kay Armstromg and Matthew Hindson have been collaborating since 2010 ,with works including ‘ Thinking About Forever’ and ( for Sydney Dance Company) ‘Inside Out’ .It is hoped that this ‘Dance Meets Music /Solo Performance ‘ series will become an annual program, offering independent choreographers and emerging composers the chance to come together and build relationships, share creative processes , seed new collaborations and create new original Australian work .

And what a fascinating program this evening was. First up was ‘ all that I am ?’ ( Choreographer Joshua Johnson, composer Troy Fil, performed by Jay Bailey) . Bailey, lovely in a turquoise skirt and white top , is a 1950’s housewife trapped in her timewarp of dull domesticity. It is sometimes dreamlike and unsettling, at others futuristic. Some of Johnson’s choreography is Graham like,with lots of floorwork, and there is a Bourne like spooky duet with the phone, that lights by itself from inside ( are we meant to see the phone as a symbol of society and communication?) Bailey has a wonderful ,luxurious stretch line used to great effect.

The second work, ‘Shadows Converge’ ( Choreographer Tanya Voges, composer Clare Janks , performed by Jayne Field) was eerie, powerful and hypnotic with a strong ,pulsating ,whirring soundtrack. In some ways it was a dance with the shadow as self .Field wore black with a black piece of stretch material that acted as her shadow/self /partner/possible lover. Voges’ choreography was often circular, folding and unfolding , with some Indian influenced poses.Were we meant to think of the shadow dance in Ashton’s ‘Ondine’ ? Were the flashing lights a nightmare ? madness? A fascinating work .

Next was ‘Selves’ ( Choreographer Cloe Fournier, composer Anish Thomas, performed by Imogen Cranna ).Cranna wore a long grey top, three quarter leggings and black socks. It was about the alienation of the self when viewed daily in the mirror – are you real ? who are you ? Various harsh everyday gestures ( tired rubbing of the face etc) and other small ‘ordinary’ movements were incorporated and repeated that developed into odd angular movements as if trying to escape from oneself or hold on to your idea of ‘being’ ,leading to frantic twitching ,almost convulsions. Isolation exercises, angular use of elbows for example and floorwork were also included .

This was followed by the blinding ,dazzling ‘Robosapien’ ( choreographer /Performer Emi Forster , Composer Austin Har ) in an analysis of what happens when humans survive as robots .Forster’s costume was almost clear plastic, with an overlarge obscuring headpiece like a helmet for a space suit . Most of the choreography was angular and robotic but there were also some fabulous rippling arms. Towards the end Forster strips down to bra and pants and forcefully but somewhat unsteadily claims the human condition.

The dramatic lighting for this work was fabulous,as it was for the last piece , the astonishing ‘ Some Other Body’ ( Choreographer Linda Luke , Composer Danielle Barry,performer Angela French ) .French , in a black leotard, has a striking lizard-like entrance , with rocks on her back and in her mouth . The work is meant to ‘explore transformation, with the idea of diminishing the ‘socialised’ body and subjugating oneself to something ‘other’, something which has another shape , atmosphere and environment and something that experiences the world utterly different than we do’

For me this riveting work evoked perhaps dinosaurs and human evolution. French seemed boneless .There is a curled fetal pose , a sideways tilt – French moves from crawling to the finale, where she is standing ,trembling , and we observe and acknowledge her as human .

Some powerful, fascinating work and I eagerly look forward to the next program.

This was for one night only Monday June 4 2012 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music . Running time was one hour without interval.

© Lynne Lancaster

Tags: Sydney Dance Reviews- DANCE MEETS MUSIC- SOLO SERIES 2012, Sydney Arts Guide, Lynne Lancaster.