Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
24/02/2012 - 26/02/2012
Dancers: Aya Nakamura, Conor Young, Danniell Chandler, Erin Bowerman, Jane Carter, Sarah Yu, Sean Papuni
Lighting & Sound – Shea Melville
Live accompaniment – Felix Alderson & Jerome Alderson
Vocalist – Chloe Melles
Costume Design: Yanna Melles
Video editing: Danniell Chandler
An eclectic bag of treats
Review by Shanon O'Sullivan 25th Feb 2012
An eclectic bag of treats is served on a platter as members of TSF present Elixir. A series of spliced dance episodes evoke poignant elements of curiosity, love, turmoil, camaraderie and cheeky humour.
Dancers file into the space and stand side by side on the fringes of the stage; a guitarist strums his chords into the darkness: the audience waits in anticipation. As the melody ends, a spotlight from the corner spreads a shaft of light across the stage. One by one dancers move forward into the light and vivacious samples of movement reveal glimpses of individual personalities. Dancers merge to form a unified whole, and execution of movement is sharp assured and strong. The dancers then disperse and return to walking single file towards the spotlight. I have a sense there is an assortment of underlying evocations channelled through their movements. Dancers frequently focus their attention towards the audience, which adds an engaging component to the performance.
As each section unfolds, social and personal themes are emphasized. A recurring theme centres on relationships between men and women, as choreographic devices range from subtle to transparent. When Jamiroquai’s ‘Love Foolososphy’ sings out from the speakers, the guys break into funky grooves. Attraction overcomes hesitant side steps as interplay between guys meeting girls leads to instinctive actions. One couple tease and play whilst another sensually devours a pear in the background. Dancers shift across the space as the couple disengage. As they move in synchronous slow motion, gestures convey inner turmoil and sorrow. Movement is beautifully executed and subtly powerful as the man walks away.
Dancers make full use of every inch of the stage and their rhythm is consistently focused. Pace and style varies and comical moments produce ripples of laughter from the audience. Live music provides an engaging interlude as vocalist Chloe Melles and musicians Felix and Jerome Alderson perform. Dancers stand side by side on stage as the musicians perform and they provide intermittent backup vocals. It is unclear to me whether all the dancers are actively participating in this segment or whether perhaps it is primarily a musical component within the performance. The accompanying music playlist however contributes clearly towards intentions throughout the performance, as well as intermittent yet timely tunes from the guitarists.
A second interlude occurs as dancers produce and hold a sheet across the stage and we are transported to another place as a video projection lights up across the sheet. Dancers appear on screen (or on the sheet) and are situated within a car park with graffitied walls. They sip on cups of tea and maps and guide books are examined. Perhaps dreams of far away places and plans are being made for future reference. Fast pace action unfolds as the dancers tussle, compete and play, and a sense of camaraderie is transmitted across the screen. The video ends and the sheet is tucked away. Returning to the fringes of the stage, dancers move one by one across the space and we see individuals sharing a spontaneous slice of themselves once more.
TSF deliver a fresh and spirited performance that explores the great landscape of human thoughts and feelings. There was a little repetition, and a few choreographic sequences could perhaps be developed further. However as my first time seeing this young company perform I am impressed with their technical skill, choreographic range and fluidity in motion. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious.
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