Centre of Contemporary Art: CoCA, Christchurch

05/08/2009 - 08/08/2009

Christchurch Arts Festival 2009

Production Details

Fleur de Thier’s latest work for Scrambled Legs explores the relationship between the human form and the elements. Uniting dance, film, sculpture and sound, Winded is a journey of exploration as the venue itself becomes a wind tunnel as the dancers and audiences respond to the vortex at the heart of this work.

Winded evolved from choreographer Fleur de Thier’s fascination with wind and the effects of the element on movement. Exploring the theme, she concentrated on the effects of wind force on the notions of centre and grounding challenging the dancers to explore their
technical limits.

Pre-show talk with choreographer Fleur de Their: Thursday 6 August, 6.00pm, COCA

"The full gamut of emotions is traversed in de Thier’s choreography… a reason of celebration" – The Dominion Post

5, 6 & 7 August, 7.00pm
8 August, 2.00pm & 7.00pm
Where: CoCA
Price: GA: $25; Concession/Friend: $18
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Dancers:  Julia Milsom, Erica Viedma, Liana Yew and Paul Young

Creative and captivating

Review by Kerri Fitzgerald 06th Aug 2009

Crouching within the environment, four dancers are buffeted, tossed, whirled and caressed by the unpredictable forces of the wind.  At times they give in, at times they struggle, but always they are working towards regaining their centres. In Winded Fleur De Thier is exploring both the physical effects of wind on the body and the emotional ‘winds’ that cross our life paths pushing us off balance. 

The stunning sculptural set involves an installation of suspended silver tubes winding through each other, projecting across the space and offering an array of intriguing lighting effects. Torch-like, they create a vortex of wind tunnels and with the sound, combine to create an industrial atmosphere. The coolness of the contemporary sound score and the opening film carry us along into wind scurrying clouds and Canterbury skies. Turbulence is to follow.

De Their’s choreographic process generates a raft of new movement motifs as the dancers explore the environment and each other. Dancers – Julia Milsom, Erica Viedma, Liana Yew and Paul Young – are pulled, thrust against each other, violently propelled and twirled by forces beyond their control. Still they return for more …

One intriguing pas de deux involves a series of elegantly controlled balances and shifting weight contrasting against sudden dramatic twirls, subtle inter-locking limbs and airborne suspensions. Another stunning duo involves a female dancer attempting to connect with the man accompanied by torturous breathing. The climatic and memorable finale unleashes the full force of the wind machine onto the resilient dancers.

Costumes enhance this multi media piece. Tufts of fabric are suspended and engage in their own dance behind the dancers’ bodies. A lone dancer facing the force of the wind machine hair streaming, with floating sections of cloth and fluid limbs, is an enduring image. Another equally breath taking section occurs when the dancers’ bodies are projected alongside film of wavering tussock.  Almost ghost like and melding into the environment, the billowing cloth-forms tug, dissolve, float and whirl in the space.

Clearly the creative team have worked closely to ensure the forms are integrated, balanced and coherent. The enticing web of contemporary dance is flung out further for Christchurch audiences in this fine production. The fusion of these art forms yields a creative and captivating performance which will stir a strong response from those lucky enough to get a seat. 
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Daniel Allan September 2nd, 2009

I'm an actor first, but I've taken an increased interest in dance and I absolutely loved the choreographer's previous work 'Hover.' I was disappointed by Winded after carrying high hopes into the last leg of a wonderful Arts Festival.

The reviewer says, "Clearly the creative team have worked closely to ensure the forms are integrated, balanced and coherent." I thought the set and projections were outstanding as separate elements intended to enhance the dance. Unfortuantely for me, they did less to enhance and more to distract. From the word go we were treated to a spectacular windswept kiwi vista, projected from wall to wall across the back of the gallery. Enter a single dancer; slow, hesitant, projecting her energy into the wings. Gradually others join her. Where is their energy? What is their purpose? Were we supposed to be grabbed by this drip-feed of dancing because my eyes are still on the wall.

Later a long piece of silver tubing cleverly detatches from the ceiling and helicopters down towards our performers. The tension builds. Will they interact with it? Jump over it as it spins? Be hearded out of the way? No, sadly they just danced under it a bit. On the night I attended two of the dancers accidentally kicked it, completely killing any projected status this tubing had.

The inevitable role of the big fan came into play right at the end and allowed the dancers to cleverly re-incorporate their earlier moves and explain them to us in this new context. But I was still waiting for the elements of speed, energy and agility that the word 'wind' engenders.

I'll look out for de Thier's next work. Sadly, this one did not blow me away.

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