… DanceXchange; for being total troopers in the midst of a ‘dance injury an hour before curtain-up’ nightmare.
This is perhaps a general muse as well as a review of the latest Bare Bones show for 2 reasons; which are, really, the same reason. Not long before the start of the show a dancer had to pull out; which, due to the complex relational nature of the pieces in the show, was nothing short of a crisis. However, the show must go on – and so it did: re-worked in little more than an hours before curtain-up. Reviewing is thus rendered a little tricky as a) I’m not actually reviewing the show that was programmed and b) the most striking element of this performance is actually the fact that it was performed at all..
I’m not sure that I’d have ever known that this had all happened backstage; had we not been kept informed by David Massingham which was both well-appreciated customer service and a credit to the company’s professionalism and dedication. This was a slick, creative and entertaining quartet, drawing on all the wealth of form of contemporary dance.
The first piece, Rui Horta’s ‘Container’ had the audience quite literally holding it’s breath along with the dancers: testimony to it’s engaging sense of anticipation. Simple, but effective, it involved the dancers moving around a strangely defined space and made the most of the up-close-and-personal approach. The audience was positioned practically on the dance floor itself in a round; which maximised the intensity and sensory nature of this piece: walking, running, breathing, shapes, lines, space.
Australian choreographer Garry Stewart’s ‘Magnification’ was possibly the night’s favourite. The interplay between the dancer’s movement and the biological-sounding soundtrack (bones cracking, fluid squelching etc) was outstanding and one of the cleverest noise/movement combinations I’ve experienced. Again, particularly outstanding was that this should have been a trio, but due to injury was a duet. A still perfectly, intricately timed duet. With just an hour of rehearsal as such. Respect.
After the interval; Robert Clark’s ‘Straight Talking’ was a funny and slightly odd poke at the world of dance; it’s imprisonment to aesthetics and image. Clark subverts this to provide an unusual, somewhat awkward (but purposefully so) piece that felt slightly uncomfortable to watch – but I guess that’s the point ..
Finally, Mr Massingham himself had a moment to shine with ‘Hinterland’; his own creation in collaboration with the dancers. It was a complex, relational piece – with elements of gender politics, interaction and disorientation that involved the mind as well as the senses and was a suitably thought-provoking end to a compelling, multifarious evening.
Instead of being a potential flop, Bare Bones demonstrated an enormous tenacity and ingenuity that made this a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the audience. For this, they have my utmost respect. And it has not gone unnoticed: see News
Well done, DanceXchange.
– Fiona Handscomb