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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

DanceX Part II (Arts Centre Melbourne)

The Australian premiere of Johan Inger’s comic, romantic dance theatre piece I New Then, set to songs by Van Morrison, is superb.

I was delighted to experience it for a second time in a few days when watching DanceX Part II.

It opened the program, just as it had DanceX Part I.

Inger, a Swedish choreographer, danced with Nederlands Dans Theater and has made works for leading companies all over Europe.

Photos by Kate Longley, David Kelly and Simon Woods

The feel-good 28-minute dance experience is energetic and humorous. The music makes it particularly relatable.

The nine dancers – five men and four women – get the evening off to a particularly memorable start with their stage craft and impeccable skills.

Thereafter, follows a virtuoso offering titled Glass Concerto by Queensland Ballet.

Three couples, dressed in striking black costumes, display a fluidity of movement and artistry on a darkened stage.

At first it is the pairings, then various combinations thereof, as Philip Glass’ score adds to the intensity of the performance, building in vigour.

It is a masterful 26-minute work from renowned choreographer Greg Horsman.

Glass Concerto was a highlight of the company’s 2017 RAW season and premiered at the 43rd Prix de Lausanne Gala in Switzerland.

After interval, we are treated to an evocative piece highlighting the struggle for recognition of Australia’s First Nations’ people.

Karul Projects’ 65-minute SILENCE brings into sharp focus the 252 years of oppression since Captain James Cook sailed into Botany Bay.

To the rhythmic beat of two boomerangs being struck, one of the seven performers makes his way to the back of the stage. That is where a full drum kit is positioned.

The dancers perform a piece named LORE before transitioning to TREATY, the works of choreographer Thomas E. S. Kelly.

SILENCE includes impressive, at times frenzied, drum work, singing and the spoken word, as well as dance, and leaves an indelible impression.

It is deeply affecting. Balancing the shade, it is also, on occasions, amusing.

Last week, in DanceX Part I, we were introduced to Sydney Dance Company’s ab(intra), meaning “from within” (Latin).

The half hour work was an exploration of primal instincts, impulses and responses, and took us from tenderness to turmoil.

Two entwined dancers began the piece in perfect harmony, before it opened up in the second scene.

Lucy Guerin Inc took to the stage after interval with How To Be Us.

The 15-minute work considered ideas of cooperation and coexistence, spontaneity and empathy.

It included improvised movement created by the two dancers.

DanceX Part I finished impressively with a highly creative and spirited work from Bangarra Dance Theatre, titled Terrain, first performed a decade ago.

Three separate scenes involving 15 dancers over 22 minutes captivated the audience with their primordial power.

Against an redolent backdrop and earthy costuming, the work was about the ties that bind, specifically the body and the land.

DanceX Part II is playing at Arts Centre Melbourne until 28th October and DanceX Part III from 29th October until 1st November, 2022.


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