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new breed 2023 : accomplished new dance works

The New Breed 2023 program is a program of new works choreographed by four emerging young artists. Overall It proved to be a satisfying and accomplished evening of contemporary dance. Above all, it was a privilege to see so many young, highly motivated and skilled dancers on one program.

There were refreshing directions in contemporary dance on display. The opening work Everyb0dy’s g0t a B0mb by Riley Fitzgerald captured the zeitgeist of Gen Z. A generation has grown up seeing hopes of the new millennia dashed, and a resurgence in wars and climate fears, without clear remedial outcomes.

A statement in the video primer that commenced this (and all the) works quoted Prince – “we could all die any day but before I’ll let that happen I’ll dance my life away”. This explains the frenetic collective energy and fitful expression emerging from delightfully placed lighting and shadows.
The opening sequence, with movement pinned to the floor in a struggle for animation, was compelling. Often silhouetted bodies played against ominous light, creating a default beauty. Drawing from rave dance style, this was before the denouement of the body, and the vision of broken bodies flat on the floor. This work might have been inspired by Woodstock 99 festival, but it resonated with ongoing relevance for collective partying and private foreboding that shapes contemporary youth consciousness.

Revenge Tales and Romance by Eliza Cooper was certainly something different. a barbie mockudance, was refreshing in a warm embrace of popular culture. somewhere between a country line dance and a school cheer squad, five brightly clothed dancers, seemingly innocent of their sensuality, engage in prolonged warm up and short sequences that play out on the border lines of what might be classified as dance. The program notes clashing dichotomies of objectification and liberation – actually the work can be received in a much direct way, as a satirical pastiche of culture. it is brightly done, however the opening did seem overlong, as did the silent pause in the middle.

Somewhere between Ten and Fourteen by Tra Mi Dinh was a delightful lyrical reflection on twilight and in particular the colour blue. It responds to perceptions of nature (“propelled by light” in the words of the choreographer), while allowing the colours and flow of dusk to be a domain for self expression and transformation. In short, this is a neo romantic work, and it is welcomed in the spectrum of contemporary style. The accomplished, precise ensemble work delighted.

Gubba by Beau Dean Riley Smith uses H.G.Wells “War of the Worlds”, including the movie soundtrack, to underpin a story of western contact with Aboriginals. The program notes suggest that the choreographer regards the story as realistic, not hyperbolic. The actual facts and explanation of the frontier wars should be heard, and truth telling occur, post referendum, in this country. In this dancework, there were inventive moments – the alien craft, the costumes, the militarised dance – but it remained illustrative of a science fiction story that seems not entirely applicable for a complex interracial Australian history.

NEW BREED 2023 played Carriageworks Bay 20, Eveleigh between the 6th and 16th December 2023.

Featured image : Revenge Tales and Romane. Pic Pedro Greig

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