Dance and art

Radical Transparency: Staying afloat - Dance Informa Magazine

Riverside Parramatta Theatres, Sydney.
March 18, 2022.

The Lennox Theatre at Riverside Theatres was packed, with the masked audience taking their seats while a performer dressed in a bold and colorful outfit sang while playing guitar.

Radical transparency is the latest work presented by FORM Dance Projects and the company WE ARE HERE as part of March Dance and Dance Bites 2022.

WE ARE HERE is an innovative contemporary dance company directed by Emma Saunders. It is a base for independent dance artists, often from Western Sydney, to study and deepen their choreographic practice under Saunders' guidance.

Radical transparency attempts to examine the mix between honesty and artifice, the wild and the tame, the light and the dark, the process and the performance, the raw and the fabricated, and whether it is now possible to present new dance work that is sustainable, wild, dynamic and afloat while it feels like everything is flowing. He asks Why We dance and move and encourage us to feel our bodies and interact with nature as well as the use of modern technology. (The production uses split screen projections at one point.) Other issues the work considers are solitude and the reality or otherwise of time and place.

The work includes voice-over, speech and singing. Film footage is included, and throughout the work the back screen text is revealed, with the performers speaking the text (and sometimes improvising over it). In the shadows on one side of the stage is a huge mountain of various materials that various performers are using, and at one point there is a great visual effect where the company forms a snaking pile, pushed against the material.

The choreography is quite demanding and mixes many styles. Sometimes the actors interact, and there are rolling floors and backbends, for example. Also included are twisting hip movements, showbiz style choreography, half-peak climbs, running, circular and/or angular arms, crawling and kicking. Add to that towards the end a rhythm count and quick claps, high kicks and lunges, among others.

There is a projection of someone getting out of bed, walking down the stairs, watching TV, falling on the back of the couch and then "swimming," the use of a reflection in a mirror, a woman at home, a man who seems to be going crazy with hands and feet spinning. Much is made of synchronized ensemble work, but this contrasts with the mini solos and duets; at one point, one of the performers tries to escape but can't.

Radical transparency is a demanding and questioning work.

By Lynne Lancaster of Information on dance.






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