Choreographed by Keith Hawley, Grant McLay, Natalie Weir, Graeme Murphy AO, Csaba Buday and Lucas Jervies
Presented by the QUT Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance Performance) Students
Gardens Point Theatre
Runs from November 3-7. Bookings through gardenstheatre.qut.edu.au
“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once”. Nietzsche must have certainly been onto something good when he said it. Dance15 was one of the most frenetic, energetic and dazzling displays I have seen in many a year.
Performed by the QUT Bachelor of Fine Arts Dance Performance students, it reveals much of the promise that these fresh young things are bringing to the Brisbane dance scene.
The showcase was exactly that; a showcase of what each year level has to offer in terms of talent however each piece performed had a general plot: the first piece Jazz is not a dirty word was about the fact that Jazz dance, according to choreographer Keith Hawley, is greatly under-appreciated and often treated with scorn. It was performed by the first year students and brought to life a spectacle reminiscent of the work of the great Bob Fosse. The second piece, Fields of play was about a game of rugby based on a match recorded of Ireland vs France. The third year students did a remarkable job of re-producing the sport through their interpretation.
En Rui Foo, in an excerpt from Where the heart is performed a heartstring-plucking rendition of a young woman returning to the family home and the memories that are found there. Her skill was formidable and brought the audience to a place full of melancholy and warm longing.
Alligator Crawl was an excerpt from “Grand” and choreographed by Graeme Murphy. It was a highly amusing piece outlining the relationship between piano music and dance. The penultimate piece, Pack was the work of Csaba Buday and was inspired by his experiences of living in Beijing. Finally, Chariot performed by the third year students was a dance a la Hunger Games, choreographed by Lucas Jervies.
Each of these dancers performed with a skill and control that truly demonstrated the fact that they are some of Brisbane’s emerging finest. All were disciplined and exact within their movements, which was highlighted especially during moments of synchronisation. The ambient and vaulting atmosphere of the Gardens Point venue added to the soaring feeling of success and emphasized the hard work of these students by creating a wide open performance space.
The set and lighting were minimal; and with the exception of some clever use of silhouetting were barely used. This also drew focus to the dancing, and subtly with its dark tones enhanced the movements created on stage.
What I liked about this production was the lack of pretension and energetic agility with which the performers moved. As someone who, as I’ve mentioned previously, has a short attention span, I was prepared for a painful two hours of gazing vapidly at something I did not understand.
Dance often confuses me, however this did not. I was able to interpret the numbers according to the short synopses within the program and felt, at times, the emotion pouring through the gestures of the dancers. The fact that after each number there was a short break as well as the interval meant that my brain had a chance to relax and reset and therefore did not find it hard to concentrate on each performance, this, coupled with the high energy of the production made it as easy to sit through as it was enjoyable. I would have liked to see more solo work, perhaps, but overall I did not find any aspect of the performance was lacking.
Dance15 was a frenetic, high energy and skilful performance by the Bachelor of Fine Arts Dance Performance students. Each piece performed demonstrated that these kids really know their stuff and it will most certainly be interesting to see where they end up in the future. With what was displayed on opening night, however, it is not hard to imagine that they will manage great things.