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Dance Massive 2013


 Da Contents H2

dance massive 2013
March 27 2013
dance: installed, immersed, hybridised
keith gallasch: dance massive 2013

quotidian moves, gangnam-style
philipa rothfield: ben speth, wetubelive

dance massive 2013
sounds to dance to, with, against
gail priest: sound design in dance massive 2013

March 26 2013
the life in the work
philipa rothfield: tracie mitchell, dance screen retrospective

youtubing live
varia karipoff: ben speth, wetubelive

dance massive 2013
March 24 2013
dance & disorientation
keith gallasch: tim darbyshire, more or less concrete

more or less monstrous
jana perkovic: atlanta eke, monster body

realtime tv: tim darbyshire, more of less concrete, dance massive 2013

March 22 2013
ritual entwining
philipa rothfield: soo yeun you, [gu:t] [work-in-progress]

strange affliction: dance massive & transcendence
keith gallasch: jo lloyd, future perfect

March 21 2013
a not so private hearing
carl nilsson-polias: tim darbyshire, more or less concrete

realtime tv: antony hamilton, black projects 1& 2, dance massive 2013

something ends, something begins
virginia baxter: dance exchange, dance for the time being - southern exposure

dance massive 2013
the perfection of submission
varia karipoff: jo lloyd, future perfect

March 20 2013
inner fury, seductive skill
philipa rothfield: anouk van dijk, chunky move, 247 days

March 20 2013
old tropes & the new disconnect
carl nilsson-polias: lucy guerin inc & belvoir, conversation piece

March 19 2013
now, then, now
keith gallasch: sandra parker, the recording

realtime tv: anouk van dijk, 247 days, chunky move, dance massive 2013

dance massive 2013
March 18 2013
creating an affective community
jana perkovic: matthew day, intermission

fun and the damage done
keith gallasch: larissa mcgowan, skeleton

more than smoke and mirrors
virginia baxter: ashley dyer, life support

realtime tv: lee serle, p.o.v., dance massive 2013

March 17 2013
realtime tv: dalisa pigram, gudirr gudirr, dance massive 2013

the body un-mirrored
jana perkovic: anouk van dijk, chunky move, 247 days

the origins of feeling
philipa rothfield: sandra parker, the recording

March 16 2013
realtime tv: stephanie lake, dual, dance massive 2013

dance massive 2013
March 15 2013
a dance for dark times
virginia baxter: dalisa pigram, gudirr gudirr

brittle bones & internal electricity
carl nilsson-polias: larissa mcgowan, skeleton

in the thick of it
philipa rothfield: lee serle, p.o.v.

March 15 2013
inside the audience
jana perkovic: lee serle, p.o.v

the poetry of pain
keith gallasch: stephanie lake, dual

dance massive 2013
when two become one
varia karipoff: stephanie lake, dual

March 14 2013
blacker than black
keith gallasch: antony hamilton, black projects 1 & 2

life in a puff
carl nilsson-polias: ashley dyer, life support

March 13 2013
dark symmetries
carl nilsson-polias: antony hamilton, black projects 1 & 2

lines of flight
philipa rothfield: dalisa pigram, gudirr gudirr

dance massive 2013
suggestive formalism
jana perkovic: natalie abbott, physical fractals

unsettling the audience
varia karipoff: natalie abbott, physical fractals

February 22 2013
an intense manifestation of dance
philipa rothfield: dance massive 2013, melbourne

dance massive 2013: from the archive
lucy guerin inc, conversation piece; antony hamilton, black project; atlanta eke, this monster body; matthew day, intermission; jo lloyd, future perfect; tim darbyshire, more or less concrete; natalie abbot, physical fractals; ben speth, wetubelive


More or Less Concrete, Tim Darbyshire More or Less Concrete, Tim Darbyshire
photo Ponch Hawkes

Do you look for concrete meaning, narrative and figuration in Tim Darbyshire’s creation? Or do you look instead between the figuration to the abstractions, reveries and enigmas? You might find yourself pondering such questions as you take off your headphones at the end of More or Less Concrete.

Yes, you get headphones. For a production presented with a fairly standard end-on seating bank and a letterbox proscenium arch it seems an odd choice. The sound design itself rarely makes specific use of the medium in terms of aural quality, apart from at the very beginning, when a brilliant rendering of a muffled conversation between a man and a woman seems real enough for one to question the soundproofing of the North Melbourne Town Hall. Apart from that, the sound itself is not so quiet, nor so delicate that one needs headphones to discern it.

What the headphones largely achieve is to personalise and internalise the audio. On the one hand, there is the physical reality that no one else is hearing what’s on your headphones. On the other hand, there is the paranoia that someone else’s headphones are getting better sound. Looking at rows of audience members in front of you, it becomes impossible not to feel distanced from them by this technological interference and perhaps the ubiquity of headphones in public spaces has rendered them a visual liability as much as an aural utility. This personalising aspect is compounded by the way our brains process information from headphones. We can perceive depth, location and movement using only our ears. When we move our heads, the sound signals alter slightly and this gives us even clearer metrics on where the sound is coming from. Headphones, by not changing the sound signals when we move our heads, cancel our depth perception. Our brain decides that the sound cannot be external and collapses the sound image into our head.

More or Less Concrete, Tim Darbyshire More or Less Concrete, Tim Darbyshire
photo Ponch Hawkes
For a work like More or Less Concrete, this internalisation of the audio is a potential boon. So much of what Darbyshire seems to be striving for here is a liminal space between humour and melancholy, between the concrete and the abstract. The internalising aspects of the headphones can engender the pensive questioning of ambiguity required, they beg for subjective wandering. Yet, Darbyshire and his collaborators have not fully capitalised on their decision. The sound design largely remains within the literal diegetic sphere of amplified sounds from the stage relayed in real time. These sounds themselves are often literal in their choreographic derivation: the dancers move their arms as though being inflated and make sounds of inflation, the dancers move like animals and growl appropriately, a dancer bites an apple and we hear the crunch of an apple. Musique concrète is cited as an inspiration but there is only very occasionally the kind of collage, musicality and poetry that Pierre Schaeffer and his acolytes brought to that form. When the sound and the movement do contrast, both are made more profound, more expansive and mysterious. We are given room to imagine, to set our minds adrift in this non-literal space and the piece lifts accordingly. In other words, I wanted less concrete and more concrète.

Visually, More or Less Concrete can be seen as an evolutionary bildungsroman in blue. It begins with a distant body, an indiscernible blue clay that writhes slowly until it ejects one human form, then another and another. Their bodies are heavy, weighed down by the primordial soup, leaving only their backsides to float upwards. They find breath, they find limbs, they find extension. Bit by bit, they approach us, mounting one obstacle after another though they can barely stand. As they emerge finally beyond the proscenium, the house lights rise to meet them but their eyes are closed like moles, like newborns. It is all too much for them. Not 45 minutes ago they were still sparks in Prometheus’ eye. Now, they retreat slowly into the gloom far away.

But through our headphones we still hear their echo in our heads. Sound travels slower than light.

Dance Massive: Arts House & Tim Darbyshire: More or Less Concrete,
choreographer Tim Darbyshire, performers: Sophia Cowen, Tim Darbyshire, Josh Mu, sound Design Jem Savage, lighting Ben (Bosco) Shaw, Bluebottle, dramaturge, sound theorist Thembi Soddell, costumes Rebecca Agnew, Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, March 20-24;

See also Keith Gallasch's review and the realtime tv interview with Tim Darbyshire

© Carl Nilsson-Polias; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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