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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

 

Michelle Heaven, Brian Lucas, Disagreeable Object Michelle Heaven, Brian Lucas, Disagreeable Object
photo Ponch Hawkes
MICHELLE HEAVEN’S DISAGREEABLE OBJECT IS IMMEDIATELY REMINISCENT OF ONE OF THE ENIGMATIC SCENARIOS OF GOTHIC NEW YORK ARTIST AND BALLETOMANE EDWARD GOREY (SEE THE GILDED BAT, THE CURIOUS SOFA). AT TURNS WHIMSICAL AND STRANGE, THE PIECE ALSO HAS THE FASCINATION OF A MINIATURE SPECTACLE IN WHICH THE AUDIENCE’S VISION IS UTTERLY PRIMARY.

The action takes place in a narrow space constructed within the Meat Market venue. Inside this small room, tightly packed into a bank of seats, we peer into the gloom, gradually making out a small woman (Michelle Heaven) seated on a tiny chair and eating noisily from a metal dish. She leaves to be replaced on the same chair by a very tall man (Brian Lucas). Both are white faced and wearing black—she bustled, he in tails. Both bear the signs of evil intent in permanently devious expressions. Occasionally, as he falls prey to her poisonous intentions, the deadpan mask of Lucas stretches to a ghastly grimace. They make a striking couple.

For all their Edwardian elegance, there’s something decidedly feral about these two who might be the mad servants living below the stairs. The act of eating is central and happens in greedy grabs. She also appears part mad scientist (what is she dispensing from that tap on the wall we wonder?) threatening at every turn to destroy this claustrophobically symbiotic relationship. He has perfected the art of escape and almost wins out when in one funny and deftly choreographed sequence she attempts to force him to eat an outsized poisoned pea. From here, things escalate in every way!

Michelle Heaven, Disagreeable Object Michelle Heaven, Disagreeable Object
photo Ben Cobham
The choreography is precise, perfectly tailored to meet the needs of this gothic little tale, which traverses what might be days or decades in just 33 minutes. There are a lot of enigmatic entrances and exits. Occasionally, the pair breaks into odd little angular dance sequences, though ever contained and always returning to their devious personae. Heaven wheels her squeaky mobile serving tray/laboratory trolley in and out, concocting her evil potions in swift little moves. At other times she appears in surprising suspension in the gloomy distance. From here she seems to angle and float as if possessed by some other force. Ben Cobham’s design and lighting plays cleverly with perspective and shadow to elegantly enhance the gothic ambience of the work in surprising ways. At times you wonder if you’re seeing straight. Similarly Bill McDonald’s score reminds us of the manifestations of this genre in melodrama and silent movie.

A disarming and diverting miniature, concluding with a very grand flourish, Disagreeable Object is nonetheless ambitious in scope. Dramaturgically tight, choreographically inventive, imaginative in design and performed by two consummate artists, I for one am grateful for its release from the Dance Massive crypt allowing more of us to experience its particular pleasures (though peas will never be the same). May it continue to see the light.

Elsewhere in the Meat Market, in another semi-retro experience, we don 3D cellophane glasses and enter a darkened booth to experience UK artist Billie Cowie’s Revery Alone, as part of his Stereoscopic showings. On a floor screen, a dancer uncurls from her prone position and reaches upward towards us. The work’s simple trickery still fascinates as we catch the fleeting realism of that elusive entity—the dancer’s gaze.


See also realtime's video interview with Michelle Heaven & Brian Lucas

Disagreeable Object, choreographer, performer Michelle Heaven, collaborator, performer Brian Lucas, collaborator, designer Ben Cobham, composer Bill McDonald, costume design Louise McCarthy, production and operation Bluebottle, Frog Peck, James Russell, Arts House, Meat Market, March 16-19; Billy Cowie, Revery Alone, Stereoscopic, Meat Market, Melbourne, March 16-19; www.dancemassive.com.au

RealTime issue #103 June-July 2011 pg. web

© Virginia Baxter; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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