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Review – ADC’s Forgery: something unique

By Eric Scott



Forgery

Australasian Dance Collective

Concept, creation, coding, choreography and sound composition Alisdair Macindoe Software Development Josh Mu

Lighting Design Ben Hughes

Dancers: Chase Clegg-Robinson, Tyrol Dulvari, Lonii Garnons-Williams, Jack Lister, Jag Popham and Josephine Weise.

Cremorne Theatre, QPAC


Season: September 22- October 2. Bookings www.qpac.com.au or phone 136246


The Cremorne Theatre house lights dimmed and ADC Artistic director Amy Hollingsworth took to the stage and told the audience that we were going to see something unique: a performance that no one had ever seen, not even the dancers.

So the six dancers, simply dressed in shorts or pants plus tops, took to the stage and for the next 45 minutes (exactly) followed the disembodied voice of a computer. She sounded a lot like the one who gives directions on satnav

After a while the voice disappeared and captions with timings appeared on a screen at the rear of the stage. They were mostly readable for the audience, but not always. Better to watch the dancers, who I assume had hidden mics to receive their instructions.

It was a fascinating and often amusing experience and real tribute to the agility and brain power of the dancers as the instructions flowed thick and fast: “change direction, form a barrier, be a tyre, be the CEO, paws and feet,” you name it and I’m sure it would in the computer file somewhere.

There was no basic storyline, just abstract dance movement compelled by algorithms but it was enthralling to see the dancers adapt, follow improvisations and join in, then adapt to new rhythms and speeds. “Slow down, cause breaks, speed up, stagger.”

It was very clever and intense movement.

Forgery was developed in late 2020, while Melbourne-based Alisdair Macindoe was enduring more than three months of lockdown. However, with the algorithm in charge of the choreography, the ADC dancers only needed a computer in the Brisbane studio with them, not an in-person choreographer. Macindoe simply watched rehearsals via zoom and let the computer do the rest.

“There is a thrill in knowing what you are seeing is genuinely and authentically being created in front of you. But even if you didn't know or didn't care, there is an unexplainable beauty in the observation of human reactivity. You could put it down to our innate need to empathise with other humans, I don't really know what it is, but I get the same feeling watching a good game of tennis,” he said.

He’s not far wrong.