Shine Lady by Spinning Sun
02/10/2011 - 02/10/2011
11/10/2011 - 12/10/2011
Following its successful two-centre premiere season in May 2011 acclaimed NZ choreographer Ann Dewey is primed to take SHINE LADY to international audiences. Combining the talents of renowned kiwi artist Mike Petre, music from Bach to PJ Harvey and performers; Liz Kirk, Julie van Renen and Liana Yew SHINE LADY offers up a high quality and exciting contemporary dance experience.
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Dancers - Liz Kirk, Julie van Renen and Liana Yew
Dancers – Elizabeth Kirk, Julie van Renen and Liana Yew. Understudy –Elise Chan
Gestures and images that trigger the imagination
Review by Julia McKerrow 12th Oct 2011
I am pleased to see Shine Lady programmed in The Body Festival this year and am eager to see this new work from Spinning Sun after being delighted by Flicker at The Body Festival two years ago. The positive comments and buzz from the Auckland season of Shine Lady has me intrigued. It is always a treat to have an established and accomplished dance artist such as Ann Dewey present her work in Christchurch. So I am a bit disappointed to sit amongst such a small audience of nonetheless supportive and interested festival goers on the opening night of Shine Lady.
The thoughtfully arranged pre-show music by Charlotte Rose fills this large new theatre with warm sounds of voice and electronic tones which resonate and create an atmosphere that prepares the audience for what is to follow. The stage is set with towers of ornately carved and cleverly arranged wooden boxes and chair legs. This design by Mike Petre creatively resembles miniature shrines or temples and hints at wooden religious idols, all with an element of absurdity. They are a perfect frame for this piece and Petre’s design is an ideal partnership for Ann Dewey’s unique and witty dance style.
Shine Lady is a dance in 16 parts, each of which has its own defined themes, rules, movements, narrative and music. I love Dewey’s wild use of music, which differs from some popular contemporary dance choices. Her mix of classical, rock and gypsy/world tunes adds unexpected dynamic change to the piece. At times the music strongly contrasts the movement quality and then elsewhere she layers the dancing and themes with evocative and exotic music.
This new work is laden with iconic symbolism, medieval and renaissance art motifs, and gestures from Bharata Natyam, images of humanity and history that trigger the imagination. The dancers shift, wrap and pull each other around the space inventively with large pieces of shiny fabric. They find beautiful and humorous moments to pause and highlight amongst their playful and lively exploration. They invite us into their little worlds and mirror back to us images from ours. Moments of narrative and character become apparent and reveal the inner world and imagination behind the performance. Every moment is layered with intent, movement clarity and purpose.
The three women move with a calm and confident fluidity and focus. Their expressions are bold, yet they manage to move between pathos and humour without overstating anything. Small figurine men, (Action Man?) turn up, almost insignificantly, however in a couple of effective lighting moments they create a great tacky size illusion for me, which enhances the divinity/size/omnipotence of the three females. A fleeting arrangement of some more figurine animals and men later in the piece, possibly hints at ‘creation’ as an afterthought?
There is a light-hearted and at times a comical use of multi-faith religious imagery evident throughout Shine Lady, I wonder, is this a personal response or worldview towards objects of divinity? Is all this in admiration, cynicism or purely artistic inspiration? Or an imaginative universalism, from a pluralistic perspective? The lines are blurry in our post-modern secular society.
It’s satisfying to see Dewey’s idiosyncratic movements and dynamics shine through clearly, highlighting the integrity of the choreography and the skill and dedication of the three talented dancers whose contribution is acknowledged in the programme notes: Elizabeth Kirk, Julie van Renen and Liana Yew. Their input is evident in the ownership, clarity of intention and the focus that each displays, and each brings something a little different and special to the work, a new facet and a different angle to view the piece from.
Kirk invites humour and theatricality in her dancing and gives an assured and strong performance, comfortable and intuitive within Dewey’s movement vocabulary. Van Renen moves with mercurial speed through her intricate movements and is surprising with her dynamic control and moments of sublime lightness and suspension. Yew reveals a mastered performance focus, like lightning she transforms from the serene to the aggressive and her solo midway through the night is refreshingly expressive, fluid, quick and clear, displaying her attention to detail and versatility as a dancer. A psychedelic gypsy dance canon, some fancy footwork, indistinguishable prayers and a brief shaky, pop n lock solo are a few of the many moments I will take away from tonight.
Dewey’s work is often described as ‘quirky’ or ‘cute’ and this piece follows suit. Shine Lady is also brilliantly eccentric and displays Spinning Sun’s unique voice and Dewey’s original and unaffected style.
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Original, engaging and beguiling contemporary dance
Review by Marianne Schultz 03rd Oct 2011
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