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dance massive 2013

the perfection of submission

varia karipoff: jo lloyd, future perfect

Future Perfect, Jo Lloyd Future Perfect, Jo Lloyd
photo Ponch Hawkes

Imagining the future tends to lead writers and choreographers to similar conclusions, each with their particular aesthetic and philosophy. This includes uniformly attired humans signalling submission to an overarching ideal or identity. Here it is expressed with glittery Torvill and Dean-cum-gothic punk outfits.

Uniformity is an exterior marker of a oneness of mind: a community so in tune it is on the verge of becoming a single organism. Even when the dancers move separately they are like the parts of a clock, working together to achieve an obscure function.

Future Perfect, Jo Lloyd Future Perfect, Jo Lloyd
photo Ponch Hawkes
Future Perfect comes with a loud music warning—Dance Massive 2013 has been punctuated by decibel-heavy beats and has seen sound volume take on a near physical presence. After the sonic punch of Physical Fractals where I cocooned my growing belly with my arms, I googled “do loud noises affect unborn babies?” Thankfully, it seems not. This performance was on the moderate level of aural challenge—occasionally an unpleasant frequency, the pitch a notch above inner ear comfort. This seemed to fit the general picture of discomfort one might experience at a warehouse rave, which was my first impression of the set. The metallic backdrop hinted at the interior of a machine, ripples of light covering the stage as the five dancers raised their arms and faces upward in a kind of religious ecstasy (rather than an amphetamine-induced one). The performers merge to create a kind of Shiva as Nataraja—the multi-armed Lord of Dance. The repeated worshipping arm movements reminded me of old Hindi films where entertainment has a starting point in religious ritual.

Entertainment is high on the agenda; the lighting and set design by Jennifer Hector brings drama in the form of a sci-fi cinema experience to the audience. Screens at either side of the stage reveal 3D animations of the dancers’ faces distorted into pixel galaxies, Rhian Hinkley’s imagery suggesting a kind of breaking down of the individual by technology. While maybe a pertinent point in the concept of future’s ‘uniformity’ or undividedness, it jarred a little with the images of ecstatic unity on stage. Overall though, the production is glamorous and exuberant, crackling with an electric charge, if occasionally suggesting an errant question.

Future Perfect, Jo Lloyd Future Perfect, Jo Lloyd
photo Ponch Hawkes
In Lloyd’s Future, humans succumb to a higher, irresistible force; they map out galactic paths in a fever, they support each other and fit around each other without competition. These high-energy moments wind down to stillness and a disassembling and regrouping. The dancers embody both strength and grace like future perfect bodies and, despite their apparent uniformity, each brings something of the individual to the piece, like characters from a cult movie. I was particularly struck by the fire and efficacy of movement of mustachioed Luke George; he raised the bar on opening night.

Ecstasy means to “stand outside the ordinary self.” Future Perfect is both an otherwordly and out of body, out of self, experience where the dancers finally and repeatedly collapse in on themselves, giving in to the magnetic force of the mass.

Dance Massive: Arts House & Jo Lloyd: Future Perfect, choreographer, director Jo Lloyd, performers Luke George, Madeleine Krenek, Shian Law, Jo Lloyd, Lily Paskas, lighting, set designer Jennifer Hector, music Duane Morrison, costumes Doyle Barrow, projection designer Rhian Hinkley, Arts House, Meat Market, Melbourne, March 20-24;

RealTime issue #114 April-May 2013 pg. 29

© Varia Karipoff; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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