Hamilton Gardens, Chinoiserie Garden, Hamilton

06/03/2016 - 06/03/2016

Production Details

Map the constellations, follow the celestial compass and take a left when the beat drops. Weave through the earthly wonderland of the Hamilton Botanic Gardens on a jaunt of cosmic proportions. Star-gazing star-girls and dances of dark matter greet the dusk and ask questions of the sky.

Sun 6th March 7pm & 8pm



Hamilton Botanic Gardens-The Piazza to Chinoiserie and points between

Site-specific/site-sympathetic , Family , Dance ,

20 mins

Flitting through the gardens

Review by Dr Debbie Bright 07th Mar 2016

A brave attempt. Three earnest, dance-trained, fairy-like young women leaping, running and flitting like shining butterflies from one part of the garden to another, carrying torches and a small sound system tied in sequined fabric, playing music of Disney-genre lightness. They pause long enough to make dance-use of some of the architectural features of the spaces in which they briefly alight, in what appears to be improvised contemporary/ creative dance. ‘Flitting’ and ‘alighting’ are the words that keep occurring to me as I think about their movement. Short buff dresses, diaphanous rainbow ponchos and shiny makeup, they are certainly embodiments of fast-moving distant ‘out-of-this-world’ beings. They occasionally move as duo/single or trio but, most often, alone.

Unfortunately, there are some problems with this performance. Among the small audience who gathers at the advertised Piazza, there is a lot of confusion and questioning over where the performance is to be held, since there are no dancers or crew and very few potential audience members present by 7pm, and there is no one here to advise us. Just after 7pm, the dancers run, swirl and leap along the main pathway into this space, and, after a recorded narration about the creation of celestial bodies, they swirl, bend, stretch, balance and briefly flit from place to place within this space before moving off down one of the adjoining pathways. Having recently attended a number of mobile performances in the Gardens, I am prepared. I call out to the other audience members, “I think we’re meant to follow them!” So, follow them we do. Casual garden attenders look astonished or shriek with laughter as these shiny beings flit by. Some stay to watch briefly, others continue on their way giggling or earnestly talking together about the meaning of what they have just encountered. One audience member remarks, “Some direction would be helpful!” We all manage to arrive at the Chinese Scholars Garden in time to see some of the dance work there.

But, after this, the show ends for me. Still recovering from a smashed up ankle, I can now walk reasonably quickly, but not yet run. And running is definitely required to keep up with this performance. The dancers walk calmly and poisedly out of the Chinese Scholars Garden without making eye contact with us (audience members), then run and leap back down the path and disappear around a corner ahead. I can see two audience members in the distance and follow them. Unfortunately, they have lost the performance and, as I later discover, have gone in the opposite direction to the dancers. I back-track and then meet up with another audience member who tells me that the show has now finished. She tells me she thinks it was quite sweet, although she had had to run to keep the dancers in sight, so that she could see the end of the performance. She indicates that there was also some confusion about when the performance ended – so the audience could applaud; she yelled out ‘Thank you’ to the dancers as they disappeared into the toilets to change. I am told that the performance took 7 minutes from start to finish.

It seems that these young women have created a piece that is ‘out of this world’, without any support, technical or otherwise, and, it behoves an audience to keep up with them or lose them. In this instance, I estimate that nearly half of the original audience did lose them. A pity!


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