At a time when the public is saturated with dance via music videos, TV and film, Garry Stewart and the Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) are asking us to take a step back and ask “what is dance?”
Encouraging his band of young choreographers and dancers to take this question and look at it from every angle Stewart has produced some outstanding pieces for the 2010 edition of Ignition, “But Is It Really Dance?” Put simply, this is fantastic. You couldn’t ask for more from a theme which encourages the choreographers to go beyond rhythmic movement and consider every act – whether as simple as walking and talking – a form of dance.
With six performances all glaringly different, it’s great to see such wide interpretation of the theme. Stewart himself highlights the absurdity of conceptualising a performance in ‘The Universe of No-Body’. ‘Scrap’ and ‘Be That As It May’ are also two highlights; the former uses violent and abrupt movement and sound to convey itself with bodies being literally flung across stage, whilst the latter (choreographed by and starring the talented Tara Soh and Kyle Page) sees frenetic chaos intertwined with fluid and constant movement and emotion. There is partial nudity involved with one performance, but in a tasteful and restrictive manner.
For those that fear this is too conceptual, don’t. This is highly entertaining and a terrific way to bridge the dance you see everyday with the amazing ideas on movement that are being pushed in the industry. Proving we don’t need TV to showcase the amazing young talent we have in this country, if you don’t catch Ignition this year, book it in the diary for every year after now.
Kryztoff Rating 4K
A group of people sit. Each is unique but all share in a sense of exhaustion. The glare of fluorescent lights overhead creates the appropriate institutionalised atmosphere. This is a “rest home” and an air of boredom abounds. For the next hour, the beliefs, experiences and ideals of the motley bunch of characters are explored, with themes of war, faith, and destiny rising to the surface.
Stone/Castro has produced a piece which uses theatre, dance and visual imagery to create a world of desolation and confusion, with a flicker of hope thrown in for good measure. Though, at times, the tangled nature of the piece can be a little trying, there are several affecting montages and some engaging dialogue.
The quality of the performances varied; both across the cast and within individual characterisations. As the returned soldier haunted by his past and desperate for a different future, Nick Bennett gave a strong central performance, though could have given more fire to the part, particularly in the flashes of anger and desperation.
Lewis Rankin’s portrayal of the young man who finds himself caught up in this surreal world and risks allowing the residents’ nightmares to become his own, is also commendable; with particularly impressive control shown during his featured dance piece.
Though probably not appealing to those who prefer their theatre more straight forward and plot driven, this show incorporates both powerful and humorous imagery and presents many ideas worthy of consideration and rumination.
Kryztoff Rating 3K