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Dance Massive 2011

March 15-27, 2011


 Da Contents H2

March 29 2011
sounds massive
gail priest: the soundtracks of dance massive

the limits of the extraordinary
nilsson-polias: force majeure, not in a million years, dance massive

March 27 2011
let's dance—and we do
jana perkovic: bluemouth inc, dance marathon, dance massive

the unexploited
keith gallasch: antony hamilton, drift, dance massive

March 26 2011
post-apocalyptic drive-in dancing
carl nilsson-polias: antony hamilton, drift, dance massive

suspending self, time & disbelief
keith gallasch, virginia baxter: trevor patrick, i could pretend the sky is water, dance massive

talkin' 'bout my generation
philipa rothfield: becky, jodi & john, john jasperse company, dance massive

the truth of the matter, or not
jana perkovic: gideon obarzanek, faker, chunky move dance massive

March 24 2011
erupting from the archive
carl nilsson-polias: balletlab, amplification, dance massive

realtime video interview: trevor patrick
i could pretend the sky is water

March 23 2011
in the heat of the moment
keith gallasch: deanne butterworth, matthew day, dance massive

the ambiguities of happiness
jana perkovic: shaun parker, happy as larry, dance massive

March 22 2011
displacements: space, stage, workplace
keith gallasch: branch nebula's sweat & other works

present, tense
virginia baxter: luke george, now now now: dance massive

realtime video interview: luke george
now now now

March 20 2011
realtime video interview: gideon obarzanek
connected

realtime video interview: madeleine flynn & tim humphrey
music for imagined dances

realtime video interview: michelle heaven & brian lucas
disagreeable object

realtime video interview: rosalind crisp
no one will tell us...

March 19 2011
the poisoned pea
virginia baxter: michelle heaven, disagreeable object, dance massive

turning the tables, working the audience
carl nilsson-polias: sweat, branch nebula, dance massive

March 18 2011
dance like never before
keith gallasch: rosalind crisp, no one will tell us...; dance massive

the uneasy weight of metaphor
virginia baxter: shaun mcleod, the weight of the thing left its mark

March 17 2011
into the dance-scape
jana perkovic: narelle benjamin, in glass, dance massive

kinetics: sculpted & danced
carl nilsson-polias: connected, chunky move, dance massive

the art machine dances
keith gallasch: connected, chunky move, dance massive

March 16 2011
ghost dancing
keith gallasch: narelle benjamin, in glass, dance massive

journey of the tribe
jana perkovic: herbertson & cobham, sunstruck, dance massive

March 10 2011
kinetic art machine makes waves for dance
john bailey: reuben margolin & chunky move's connected

February 21 2011
dance massive 2011 artists: from the archive
force majeure, not in a million years; narelle benjamin, in glass, chunky move, faker; branch nebula, sweat; shaun mcleod, the weight of the thing left its mark: luke george, now, now, now; phillip adams amplification

the meeting point
sophie travers: steven richardson, dance massive

 

Alisdair Macindoe, Marnie Palomares, Connected, Chunky Move Alisdair Macindoe, Marnie Palomares, Connected, Chunky Move
photo Jeff Busby
CHUNKY MOVE’S RECENT WORK HAS BEEN CHARACTERISED BY DANCERS SURROUNDED BY THE DIGITAL. IN MORTAL ENGINE AND GLOW, GIDEON OBARZANEK PAIRED THE LYRICISM AND VULNERABILITY OF THE HUMAN FORM WITH THE SPECTRAL BLING OF INTERACTIVE VIDEO GRAPHICS. CONNECTED IS A LO-FI THIRD CHAPTER. WHERE THE EARLIER PIECES EXTRAPOLATED ON THE HUMAN FORM WITH PROJECTED PIXELS AND LASERS, CONNECTED DOES SO WITH STRINGS AND WOOD IN THE FORM OF A GIANT KINETIC SCULPTURE BY REUBEN MARGOLIN.

Entering the space, the first thing we experience is the dominating presence of this sculpture, resembling an incomplete loom of dangling warp. Two dancers enter and, as one tumbles across the floor to the fuzzy glitches and scratches of Oren Ambarchi’s score, the other begins carefully completing the sculpture, clicking magnetised shards of paper to connect the suspended threads into a grid of diamonds. The tumbling dancer soon becomes two, then three, then four, rolling and undulating across the floor but the deployment of numbers cannot conceal the niggling sense that we are being merely diverted while the main course is prepared.

When the grid is completed, the sculpture becomes a latent contraption of elegant beauty. And when the dancers’ bodies are then hooked up to the other ends of the threads, the image is made all the more wondrous. Like a diagram of light rays, the strings emerge from the human subjects, refract through a wooden lattice, bounce across the ceiling and drop down into the reflected image of the grid. In that moment, the connection of human to mechanical becomes both abstracted and essentialised.

The physical connection itself is not inherently revealing nor even interesting. When a person rides a bicycle, they are connected to a mechanical contraption of exceptional elegance and their vertical force translated into horizontal displacement, but this relationship reveals nothing more than the strength of their quadriceps. The bicycle does not express. On the other hand, Margolin’s sculpture, in the frisson between its mathematical rigidity and kinetic fluidity creates the potential for a mechanical poetry. As the dancers shift their bodies forward and back, their movement is translated into the undulation and contortion of the grid. It becomes an infinitely variable abstract canvas for our associations—a bird’s wings, an enveloping cloak, an open ocean.

Alisdair Macindoe, Marnie Palomares, Connected, Chunky Move Alisdair Macindoe, Marnie Palomares, Connected, Chunky Move
photo Jeff Busby
As such, the sculpture augments the expressive potential of the dancers by extending the reach of their neurons into new fibres (one imagines the ineluctable fun the dancers must have had in rehearsal, exploring the potential for expression and variation, like babies still conquering gross motor skills). When the sculpture is attached to an intimate duet between a man and a woman, the reflected shudders and waving of the grid seem to describe an elusive mathematical representation of love. When the duet evolves into sexual thrusting from the man, the grid responds with some unimpressed crinkling—a neat bathetic joke.

The grid as a reflection of the human form also makes manifest the very scientific thought that created it. It is an expression of the rational mind, a reminder that what we invent is inevitably in our own image, no matter how apparently disembodied. The programming of Connected in parallel with Narelle Benjamin’s In Glass, brings this aspect into clearer focus. Where In Glass treats reflection as a shady psychological force, Connected celebrates the altogether different shadiness of the scientific and mathematic by making it symbiotic with the corporeal.

Stephanie Lake, Harriet Ritchie, Joseph Simons, Connected, Chunky Move Stephanie Lake, Harriet Ritchie, Joseph Simons, Connected, Chunky Move
photo Jeff Busby
However, just as this celebration begins, it grinds to a halt. The eponymous connectedness is dispelled when its potential is only beginning to be realised and, instead, the sculpture is unplugged from its human drivers and plugged into a wall socket. As an automaton it becomes even more mathematical and pure, losing none of its beauty, but the dancers become irrelevant (cast your mind to the poetic force of Heiner Muller's Stifters Dinge). To his credit, Obarzanek acknowledges this irrelevance with a surprising shift into semi-verbatim theatre that transports us very literally into the inner life of art museum security guards. There is perhaps a vein of social critique here, or for that matter an opportunity to emphasise the intricate beauty of what we have seen with the banality of this episode, but it feels instead that the promise of the first half is left underutilised and that Obarzanek concludes by dancing around rather than with the concepts he provokes.


Dance Massive: Chunky Move, Connected, director, choreographer Gideon Obarzanek, sculpture Reuben Margolin, performers Stephanie Lake, Alisdair Macindoe, Harriet Ritchie, Marnie Palomares, Joseph Simons, composers Oren Ambarchi, Robin Fox, lighting Benjamin Cisterne, costumes Anna Cordingley; Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse, Melbourne, March 15-20; www.dancemassive.com.au

Connected will appear at Sydney Theatre, May 10-14; chunkymove.com

See RealTime's video interview with Gideon Obarzanek

See online interview with Reuben Margolin

© Carl Nilsson-Polias; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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