body fight time

Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland

07/10/2011 - 07/10/2011

Tempo Dance Festival 2011

Production Details

We began creating this work in 2009. After making Dark Tourists we wanted to continue creating performance landscapes shaped by the connections, collisions and conflicts between bodies. body / fight / time is structured like a series of poems, each using elements of body, image, space, words. The relationship between these elements has been made possible through collaboration between choreography, dramaturgy, video and music. The result is a work that playfully explores how our bodies define us as the limitations of perspective and the effects of time.

Performers: Mariana Rinaldi, Kilda Northcott, Paul Young, Francis Christeller, Lucy Marinkovich, Emily Adams, Olivia McGregor, Emmanuel Reynaud, Carl Tolentino (NZSD)

Producer: Adrianne Roberts
Sound Design & Original Music: Eden Mulholland
Production + Stage Manager: Lucie Camp
Set Design: John Verryt
AV Design: Rowan Pierce
Lighting Design: Brad Gledhill

Publicist and Co-producer Anders Falstie-Jensen
Marketing photo: Robin Kerr
Performance and Rehearsal photos: Philip Merry
Funded by Creative New Zealand and supported by Footnote Dance Co.  

70 mins

A work of substance, posing questions and engaging the mind

Review by Jenny Stevenson 08th Oct 2011

Body Fight Time is an intriguing compilation of dance vignettes that collectively muse on how people inhabit their bodies, the vagaries of time, the effects of social interaction and the intrusive nature of conflict. 
Malia Johnston and her co-director Emma Willis have constructed the scenarios for maximum visual impact, using designer John Verryt’s versatile set and projected imagery created by Rowan Pierce – together with the innovative lighting design of Brad Gledhill. The result is that many of the depictions become imprinted on the brain – serving as reference points for other sections of the work.
Johnston, who is also the choreographer, establishes a series of dance themes or signature movements that are revisited in different contexts throughout the work – lending unity to the whole.  These include the vigorous shaking of various parts of the body and fast circular rotations of the head – that are unsettling and speak of bodies in disarray.
A community of nine performers which includes dance icon, Kilda Northcott, Christchurch dancer, Paul Young and the five dancers of Footnote Dance, inhabit the various imaginative landscapes- playing out the multiple scenes in quick succession.
The work opens with Paul Young performing a manic and contagious St Vitus dance that each of the dancers is infected with, in turn. This type of broad-based humour permeates much of the work – reaching a peak when all the dancers shake their naked butt-cheeks in unison. 
The device of using words on flash cards held by the dancers, to make statements or pose rhetorical questions, is also used in a humorous manner. Eden Mulholland’s superb music score does much to contribute to the laughs – with the scratchy, country-sounds of “Over My Dead Body”, seeing various dead bodies lugged around screens, which depict the “final curtain”.
The title song of Body Fight Time is a thematic clincher and resonates long after the work is finished.
Kilda Northcott strongly inhabits her role as the appointed arbiter of life – serious in carrying out her task of the dispatch of souls. But equally, she frolics like some young and capricious goddess with the young men of the group, before finally choosing her mate.
Paul Young also plays a central role – with slight Machiavellian undertones – as the initiator of much of the action and as a provocateur. Both of these mature performers anchor the work giving it substance by virtue of their emotional investment in the characters.
At the other end of the age-scale young dance student, Carl Tolentino performs a beautiful sequence with film, examining his hands with wonder – as though seeing them for the first time.
However, all the dancers perform with utter conviction and throw themselves into Johnston’s highly energetic choreography with enthusiasm. Their unison work is exemplary – such as the restless tossing from side-to-side while lying on the floor, or the mass head-circling in blonde wigs, which are performed with excellent attention to timing.
The fight sequences are perhaps the least convincing of the various scenarios – with a lack of vicious aggression which inevitably transforms bodies into ugly instruments of destruction. However the effect is cleverly heightened by the use of filmed fighting shadows screened as a background to the conflict.
It is to be hoped that this work will receive more than one showing and will return to Auckland for its own season very soon. It is a work of substance, posing questions and engaging the mind while also providing highly-visual entertainment and some great dancing.

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