Solo Festival of Dance
Expressions Dance Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre
QPAC Cremorne Theatre
May 22 – 24 2014 (Program 2)
Reviewed by Ruth Ridgway
The first Solo program was earlier reviewed in full. This review covers the guest performers and choreographers of the second program. (The remainder of the program was the same as the first.)
The second Solo program featured four more guest performers and choreographers, whose work could not have been more diverse.
Independent performer and choreographer Sarah Aiken took us into the world of an awkward fragile-looking stick-creature in her piece Set. She was revealed lying on stage with all four limbs inserted into large pale tubes (like giant cardboard postage tubes) at least 2–3 metres long.
The unexpectedness of her subsequent positions and manouevrings, and the way the tubes exaggerate and extend the lines of the body and direction of movement kept the audience breaking into laughter. While I assume the tubes are light, their length must make them very difficult to control, and require a lot of core strength – but Aiken made what she was doing look easy. The piece ended with some very cleverly managed and amusing audience participation.
James Vu Anh Pham in gentle is the power (by Anouk van Dijk, Artistic Director of Chunky Move) perfectly expressed in movement the title of this solo. Finely built yet strong, and very flexible, Pham moved with a continuous flow. In his circling and turning, and moving down to the floor and up again, each movement is taken to the limit and then carried on into the next. Apart from some pauses, when Pham briefly lies still, there is no stopping.
The movement and a ticking sound in the music (by Malte Beckenbach) suggest that the dancer embodies the passing of time. This piece was a beautiful experience – like floating through space.
Much more in this world was David Mavisa’s energetic and entertaining performance in an excerpt from The Yard, about kids in a schoolyard, choreographed by Shaun Parker (Artistic Director of Shaun Parker & Company).
The work combines urban dance with playing with a soccer ball, and a bike. Mavisa has a magician’s touch on the soccer ball, bouncing it innumerable times off different parts of his body, running over and around it while dribbling, and balancing it in impossible ways. Not stopping there, he also balances a BMX bike on his head.
A high-energy performance in a very different vein was extro:solo created by The Australian Ballet Resident Choreographer Tim Harbour for company dancer Jill Ogai. Ogai was a mischievous, outgoing personality in this piece, which is very fast and danced on pointe, with quick footwork, turns and many small jumps.
With its sweeping and beating string sound, the music (from the Concerto for Harpsichord & Strings, Opus 40, by Henryk Górecki) is very powerful, perhaps too much so for the light, impish quality of the movement.