04/09/2012 - 07/09/2012
4 – 7 September daily at 7.30pm. Thursday at 1pm
Dancers and Choreographers: Mariafelix Fuenzalida Oñate Jennifer Moulin Shannon Williams Jake Campbell Lusia Pousini Eden Roberts Paige Forbes Cushla Roughan Natalia Harkerss Quinz Dudek Lyzz Constable Sione Fataua
All possibilities exhausted
Review by Kate Sullivan 06th Sep 2012
Upon entering the Hagley Open stage, we see a lone dancer sitting behind a table on stage, her mouth covered with duct tape and a cup of tea eloquently held between her finger-tips. This bizarre scene leaves me in eager anticipation of what is in store for the night. Homo-Interneticus is a collection of student works put together by the Hagley Dance Company. Each of the twelve student choreographers have explored the concept of “the internet”, and how this has impacted on their lives. I am intrigued to see which direction the choreographers will take with such a poignant theme for this day and age. Reading the program and learning the young age of most of the dancers, I think what better a generation to shed light on this theme than the generation whose cell phones, iPods and laptops are all essentially an extension of themselves.
A tone we all know, perhaps even fear and loathe taunts us at the beginning of the show. That certain da da da, da da, da da da da that is my alarm tone on my phone conjures up a “oh dear, who has forgotten to turn their phone off” kind of embarrassment, but thankfully this is part of the piece. More whizzing, burring, dinging, bleeping sounds continue to create a vigorous soundscape for the first piece ‘Homo-Interneticus’, choreographed by Mariafelix Fuenzalida Onate. During this piece, all of the dancers have the duct tape across their mouths, which looks effective due to the dancer’s strong focus, their eyes intensely staring down the audience.
The duct tape is slowly removed and the dancers transition seamlessly into ‘Taking Over’, choreographed by Lusia Pousini. The dancers pulsate then zip in, out and around each other then move in perfect harmony with each other like schools of fish. This is a successful representation of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by electronic devices. In another piece choreographed by Pousini, the audience are treated to the soulful accompaniment of her voice as the soundtrack for her choreography.
As ‘Taking Over’ finishes, an “old school” twisty phone chords is stretched across the stage to transition into ‘Connected’, also choreographed by Fuenzalida Onate and another student, Cushla Roughan. This is one of the several moments of subtle comic genius throughout the show. Another being the images of an online dating profile projected onto the stage at various moments during the show. During ‘Connected’, two dancers create tangles with the chords and use these to craftily move themselves and each other, expressing how technology has enabled people to stay in touch despite distance.
As each piece is revealed, it is clear that these choreographers have truly exhausted all the possibilities within the major theme. Especially for a group of such young dancers (some as young as sixteen and seventeen), they have considered some mature and insightful concepts. Areas such as Wikipedia, technological dependency, Skype, internet speed and finding fame on YouTube are all covered in the student’s works. The use of various production technologies are integrated well into the pieces and enhance the students ideas. During ‘Profile’, choreographed by Eden Roberts, the dancers draw chalk boxes around each other to highlight the idea of how a person’s identity can be determined by people’s perceptions of your Facebook page. This chalk is soon rubbed off by the dancers sliding and wriggly onto the stage from all over the theatre in some of the following pieces.
Cushla Roughan’s ‘Skype’ cleverly portrays the experience of a skype relationship. The dancers move with and around each other but never once touching, this being one of the only dances where the dancers never make contact.
The contact between the dancers in all of the pieces is executed with ease and precision. It is clear that there is great trust between these dancers as they make interesting connections with each-other’s bodies and perform striking lifts.
I am awed by the sheer physicality of Jake Campbell and Sione Fatua in Campbell’s ‘Who am I? Am I famous yet?’ the two dancers spending less time on their feet and more on their hands. But the moments I am most transfixed by are when the dancers slow it down and move with a grace and loftiness almost like two balloons drifting through cyber space.
‘Acceptance’, choreographed by Sione Fataua is a strong finish to the evening’s show. The dancers mirror each other and perform robot like actions across the space. Some of the dancer’s movements so closely resemble those of a robotic invention.
There is breadth to the dance vocabulary in all of the pieces and a quirkiness and originality in the movement. I enjoy moments of contrast within the movement, such as sharp right angled arm gestures and the loose, shaking bodies, movements which are performed simultaneously by the dancers. The integration between technology and the human form is a clever fusion which has been an educational as well as an entertaining experience for me. I go home to -let’s be honest here- probably check my Facebook, but only to update my status so I can tell all of my friends to head along to Homo-Interneticus.
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