ELEMENTAL LEXIS OF HUMAN FEELINGS AND CONNECTIONS
Auckland Festival AK07|
PRESENTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH Rifleman Productions
at Galatos, Auckland
From 13 Mar 2007 to 16 Mar 2007
[45 mins, no interval]
Reviewed by Felicity Molloy, 16 Mar 2007
I rushed to get there, teeming traffic into a tiny world of toy cars. Malia, a tiny dynamic woman, a dance force to be reckoned with, lying, a most peaceful body suspended above yoga blocks. Oldish music, Baez and Dylan with Eno ambience played on old records.
It is so good to walk into a contemporary dance event. I have seen thousands and for each one I know there will be a satisfying release into my imagination, the place I stayed as long as possible as a child. Guy Ryan and Malia Johnston's eclectic choreography and intelligent dancing expose such contexts and connections to an audience who were just as beautifully lit by the four stage lights. Detailed placements of tiny props, counter pose a personal and intuitive state of mind that directs their movements, their patterns and their moments together to reveal a paradoxical intertwining of two lives which remains less moveable than the platform they move on.
And somehow this work is sorrowful. Malia sings and dances, dislocated. I think that dancers sometimes tell parts of their life stories, or a version at least. This time the distance from the performance space is minimal and her trembling body and Ryan's sweat remove the usual constraints of pretence.
Terrain is a strong dance work, the limitations provide space for the imagination, the songs tell stories maybe we weren't meant to heed. There's a deeper resistance here to the idea that the human form can be utterly abstracted. It is fantastic to see an artist produce two shows in one Festival (Malia also choreographed Dark Tourists). It makes meaning of "a body of work" and presents the possibility of real innovation. In order for these performance artists to truly emerge as voices for a more developed artistic future, perhaps it would be useful to embed in their opportunities repeated occasions which allow them time to disclose this elemental lexis of human feelings and connections.
But in response to those who say this and Dark Tourists should be Fringe shows: I don't think so.