The Machine

Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

08/06/2018 - 09/06/2018

Production Details

We are all a part of The Machine; big or small, we all have our place that keeps the cogs turning.
As we grow older and wiser, are we content in the place that we are in, or do we become lost in the monotony?
Do we live to work or work to live?
Without us, the machine would stop…or would it?

After the success of last year’s dance project Bodies Entwined, Hamilton-based performer/choreographer Mike Sorensen has developed a new dance concept that follows on from that.

Conceived and choreographed by Sorensen, with guest choreographer Miriana Wetere-Ryder, The Machine is a unique dance project that takes a look at how we fit in the grand scheme of things. Using local dancers to perform a modern contemporary focused piece with touches of other styles, The Machine is a performance not to be missed.

7.30pm 8 and 9 June

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Dance , Contemporary dance ,

Brim-full of action, change and contrast

Review by Dr Debbie Bright 08th Jun 2018

This is a must see for any dance enthusiasts, particularly those who love contemporary dance and live in the Waikato. It is also a must see for anyone who is passionate about supporting the work of young artists who remain steadfastly local and dogged in their determination to continue in their creative work, whether or not their efforts are rewarded with fame or gain.

For the second year running, Mike Sorenson has shown his skill, dedication and passion in choreographing a contemporary dance work, and then gathering and directing a group of dancers, trained and living in the Waikato, to perform the work. Most of these dancers have very full working and studying lives outside of dance; yet, all have clearly committed the time and energy required to achieve this performance.

While there are some standouts in terms of skill level, stage presence and confident performance, my overall impression is that Sorenson and these women enjoy dancing together.  As a group they have clearly worked hard to blend their skills and personalities together, so that the strengths and passion of each performer are evident.

Sorenson brings an interesting mix in his choreography, reflecting his own experience and that of the other dancers. I see strong elements of hip hop as well as the long lines, whole body strength and genre-mixing freedom of contemporary dance. There are also sequences and moments of classical ballet, many instants of speed and variety, and numerous surprising, quirky touches achieved through sudden use of an unexpected body part (arm, leg, hand, foot, head…).  And, throughout all, an eclectic mix of sound: the driving rhythms of House Music, lyrical instrumental, soul, rap, and more. The lighting reflects (or provokes?) a range of interesting and complementary effects, enhancing the changes of mood: back lighting of various colours and rhythms, shining in our (the audience’s) eyes and throwing the dancers into silhouette; overhead and front lighting revealing facial expressions and smaller gestural movements; strips and diagonal beams, through and outside of which the dancers move.  The programme is presented in two ‘halves’. Once a ‘half’ has begun, the dancers move fairly quickly from one sequence to the next, aided by the women’s neatly secured hairstyles, and basic, practical, costumes to which elements can be added… or subtracted.

As indicated by Sorenson in the programme notes, The Machine represents his own personal struggles in life, ‘the way that “the world” says you should live your life and the way you want your life to be’. He challenges the audience to ‘not let “the world” tell you what you can and can’t do.’ Sorenson’s vision and sentiment are evident in the work, as the performers dance with strength, conviction and, at times, aggressive self- assertion. Sorenson’s statement of intent is expressed, whether the dancers are performing solos, duets, trios, or dancing as a whole group in unison, cannon, or in complementary contrasts; whether in moments of slow strength and sinuous limbs, fast hip hop-reminiscent sequences, or transitions between formations and segments.  

Sorenson and this company of dancers are to be congratulated for their perseverance and the presentation of a work that, while maintaining the aims of the choreographer, is brim-full of action, change and contrast, enough to keep any audience member entertained and engaged. Their energy and sheer hard work are evident. And, of course, their absolute passion and commitment to the dance.


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