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Alice Cummins, falling from grace	Alice Cummins, falling from grace
photo Suzi Wild
Falling from grace—It is the place she dances from which is so astonishing—a place where decades of maturing consciousness, of lived and stored experience, are all wiped clear. Her feet have never touched the ground. She has never cried or smiled. There is nothing, no one else, but her. Yet all through the piece voices speak. Their recorded discourse is a familiar one of donors and surrogates, implanting and freezing, of hungering and dying for a baby. It is the kind of talk in which sometimes I engage. But not now. Now, I am absorbed by the dance and the words serve as markers of how far away that talk is.

moebius loop—Atomic tests and ballet exams…Camelot, moratorium marches, The Australian Ballet at His Majesty’s…an arts grant, No Sugar, protests at the brewery…The words themselves suggest connections, and Alice, as she speaks them, colours and redraws the links from memories in her bones and skin and organs. 1950…1965…1970 …1990. Behind the tumbling mix and match—and sometimes over it—a slower, stranger history is projected. We see close-ups of a giant, watching eye; a nipple puckered like a sunflower; wet and hairy flesh-folds that are only possibly an armpit.

lullaby—I remember the asymmetries, a dance of intimate, ungainly beauty: Alice folded over from the hips, one arm stretched downwards, the hand turned in and resting on the floor; Alice on her back, limbs raised to plough the air; stretches which luxuriate like yawns; explorations of the kind which dreams pursue, curling back upon the past without object or intent in view. Within the confines of a spotlit island, within the boundaries of her skin, Alice is tracing threads to the unknown.

Broadcast Dancing: Three new works by Alice Cummins, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, December 4-8, 1996

RealTime issue #18 April-May 1997 pg. 36

© Fiona Mclean; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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