Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland
03/10/2019 - 04/10/2019
BLOOM is a shared programme for choreographers at any stage of their career whose work is in a blossoming, shifting or changing state. Designed in response to the dance industry’s current questioning of terms used to describe artists such as ‘emerging’, ‘mid-career’ or ‘established’, this programme aims to open space for anyone taking a giant leap or new direction in their practice.
Breakthrough street dancer Samara Reweti draws inspiration from the dual beauty and agony of the female experience in her solo work Limerence; Paul Edward Wilson unpicks default movement habits to reveal emotive density in Untitled #1; Matthew Moore presents Catalyst, a duet that maps the methods of movement collected in his body over years of dancing professionally; Kisha September explores the relationship between human and non-human materials in Fibre Bodies; and Emma Cosgrave and Abi Jones present Hummingbird(s), a reflection on the global concerns inherited by young women.
Choreography: Matthew Moore
Dancers: Pamela Sidhu and Matthew Moore
Creator: Paul Edward Wilson
Cast: Paul Edward Wilson, Kayla Paige
Visual Collaborator: Yvonne Lea
Garment Designer/Fabricator: Catherine Boddy
Choreography: Kisha September
Performers: Emma Broad, Emma Cosgrave, Renee Richards, Taitanyk Toniu, Evie Logan
Choreography: Emma Cosgrave & Abi Jones
Performers: Emma Cosgrave, Abi Jones, Joanna Cook, Sophie Greig & Evie Logan
Performance installation , Multi-discipline , Hiphop , Dance , Contemporary dance , Commercial dance ,
Energy, ferocity and Emergence
Review by Paea Leach 04th Oct 2019
The program note for BLOOM, an evening of short dance works presented within TEMPO dance festival, speaks to the aspiration of opening space for anyone who is wanting to ‘bloom’. This invitation is one toward artistic freedom, encouraging creativity and questioning through movement. BLOOM, then, is a night of beginnings – tender, hopeful, unformed, sapling-like – featuring dancers of varying age who can certainly dance with technical aplomb.
Each work is given a slice of time due to the nature of the evening; but ten minutes (or so) – which means that as an audience we must do quick work to be directly in the ‘narrative’ (implied or otherwise) of each work. It is a hard task making a ten-minute-something and I have respect for these artists who take that on. The works are full of energy and hope and thus, the evening is not unsatisfying for an audience – for a short work is a good work also!
The evening begins with Untitled#1 created by Paul Edward Wilson. A long programme note pondering the nuances of life unobserved leads into this work wherein Wilson is the predominant focus; via the two films that are projected and his own physical assertion in the space. In the opening film, I think of film-maker Andrei Tarkovsky and his stark, sometimes ghoulish ghostly images, and then of David Bowie. In the opening film, Wilson is wearing an extravagant sci-fi block-like blue-ish pantsuit; it prompts a memory of Bowie’s claim that you can reinvent yourself however and whenever you like.
We begin by thinking this is a new portal to somewhere. Wilson is tall and wondrous – imposing even. Clad in silver heeled black platforms and a body clinging stocking-like shirt that reminds me of a beautiful exoskeleton, he is an impressive presence; languid, highly tattooed, preying- mantis like and delicate. In contrast is Kayla Paige; she is smaller, quieter, wearing no shoes and dressed in grey and dark blue. I wonder about this choice; his prowess and her silent or subdued costuming. Their movement together is clear, clean, gestural and mudra like. They are together and then they are not, though they never really acknowledge each other. Perhaps they are really wanting to deal with something of the sacred and the seductive as their gaze is pointed with intensity mostly to (or at) the audience, but it ends before we can imagine further.
Fibre Bodies, choreographed by Kisha September begins promisingly with a heap of rope piled on the dancers and the hint of what sounds like gamelan (the traditional ensemble percussive music of Java, Indonesia, Bali). The work unfolds in a predictable manner – unison phrasing folds into a duo and a trio, and a small woman is thrown around by a large man. The music ramps up and I am in Ibiza briefly. There is a lot of energy and aspiration in this work; the consideration of human and non-human materials is an interesting beginning point; the rope is a pile, a pliable spider web, an apparatus for suspension and counter balance. The dancers are lithe and young, compelled by what they are doing, but the dance cannot yet, and in ten minutes, speak to such aspirations.
Catalyst is next on the program, a work by Matthew Moore performed with Pamela Sidhu. They are accomplished dancers and Sidhu is especially compelling and present in what she is doing. Both dancers know their dancing-ness and are clear, strong and lithe. Moving through the moving is a hip-hop influence, revealed pointedly via the music choices and body rhythms, and contemporary dance histories and training. They are both embodied hybrids; it is not a merging or meshing of forms, it is what it is. What held me was their shared breath: I could have watched the whole thing on repeat and in silence. Why? Because they can dance with a convincing-ness, because this threshold of urban hip-hop and contemporary dance form is interesting, and because the sound is distracting and overbearing. They are embodying multi-rhythms, sliding across timings without knowing, and, in real time, riding a wave of filigree energy between them. This is beautiful to watch and I wanted to see it amplified without being told about rhythm by the sound. My thought was that this could, given time and space, become into something that is quite-a-something: abstracted, energised, resonant dance-work.
Hummingbird(s), created by Emma Cosgrave and Abi Jones is a work for five female dancers. It led me to think of The Hunger Games and the way society is divided into the healers, the fighters, the rebels – perhaps because of their choice of costume. It also, in moments, hinted a little toward the recent hit TV-show The Handmaid’s Tale. The work opens with a mercurial solo, and then develops into a sometimes-fierce narrative I am not sure how to access. In some moments, individual dancers open a gateway to movement known and yet unknown – a bit tetchy, a-rhythmic and ‘other’ – and this I find interesting, because it is not what I expect. I see revealed influences of British/Israeli choreographer Hofesh Schecter and Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake. This is shown via stamping, whole body release and audible breath; via seemingly quotidian ways, rhythmic insistences and ruptures.
Theirs is the beginning of an experiment, meshing known dance steps with rhythms they are curious about. Their shared insistence is interesting, but what is this insistence toward? Dance travels through bodies and across the globe all the time. Sometimes we know and sometimes we do not where influence has come from. Here the five young women are young, defiant and physically strong, engaged in the world they have created and doing the work of dancing as they know it.
The final work for the night Limerence is by Samara Reweti. A young street dancer, Reweti aims to navigate states that shift between agony and beauty from her point of view as a young woman working out the world. She is highly charged, present and fierce, skilled in street dance techniques and attitude. The work feels auto-biographical; she tells her story, or fragments of it, utilising street dance – its intensity, rhythms, punctum and defiance. She is brave in her exploration, emotive and potent.
BLOOM is an energised evening of dance made by makers still forming their questions. My sense was that all the artists are yet to find any sense of what their dance practice is and, as an extension of this, what their choreographic voice might be, or be-becoming. Often the sound dominates the action and I wondered what it would be like to watch them all without sound – perhaps too avant-garde of me! It is important to witness such work; to see what these artists becoming into their artistry are wanting to say, trying to say, and hoping to say with and through their bodies. I have been dancing and watching dancing for a long time and I am still not sure what it is doing and why and how. I keep showing up because I don’t know the answer to any of this. Somehow, people moving in space and deciding to do that, trying to grapple with concepts through their body is a reassuring act in today’s world. BLOOM is a program of beginnings, a place to lightly contemplate the future and bear witness to tomorrow’s makers.
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