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There are times when what we see in performance or visual art speaks more about us as witnesses than it does about the artist. So it seemed for me with Ricochet, the latest work presented by Perth-based independent contemporary dance company Physical Architecture is Dancing at Canberra’s Choreographic Centre. The bureaucratic game is the subject here, explored and teased out in all its nightmarish incarnations.

There is a worshipping of false gods to open the work, as six power-suited women move through the space, each carrying a different plastic icon on a platter—toy car, Barbie’s couch and taut Ken doll. A confession-of-sorts to the plastic demi-gods gets the piece going, and the momentum is maintained.
Running towards us, stomping, marching, sometimes bouncing, slapping the floor, vertical lines in the space, backwards and forwards. Voices hang in the air, almost tangible, but more often creating a layering of sound with Lee Bradshaw’s original sound composition. There’s mention of ‘quality assurance’ and a meeting about ‘how to cope with change’. The text sits remarkably well in all this, set against the pace of the movement in one section and mirroring it in the next.

Choreographer/Artistic Director Tamara Kerr has also drawn on mask work—a result of the developmental creative process that a residency at the Choreographic Centre affords—and it is effective. Twisted, exaggerated expressions with lips absurdly distorted. Lunging towards us, declaring, “make my day” and “kiss my arse”, the women play up their roles oh so deliciously.
Ricochet is noisy, manic and energetic. It is also a tongue-in-cheek examination of the juggling game of women’s goals and desires in the corporate world.

Ricochet, Physical Architecture is Dancing, The Choreographic Centre, Canberra, April 19

RealTime issue #19 June-July 1997 pg. 28

© Julia Postle; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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