Divine HarmoniesArtistic director, Annie Greig, via Divine Harmonies, which opened last Thursday, June 21, has employed a gifted ensemble of choreographers, composers, costume, set & lighting designers (oh, and, whadya know, even dancers), to present three dynamic and gratifyingly symmetrical new(ish) pieces, exploring, albeit in the most nebulous fashion, themes around ‘time, growth and spirituality’.

I’m not the first to reflect, we don’t see nearly enough of this island troupe (which gives away little, or nothing, to its more celebrated sister companies), on the mainland.

Sue Healey, Anna Smith & Shaun Parker have succeeded, independently, in the unlikely prospect of developing a relational and complementary ensemble of works: It Was Time; Momentary; Diving Harmonies.

Ben Walsh has had much to do with weaving threads through their choreography, with his dynamic and innovative soundtracks. Not to mention the quite ingenious reworking of Hildegard Von Bingen’s ancient music, by Meredith Monk.

Darren Willmott’s subdued lighting has graced the stage with even greater depth of feeling; Greg Clarke’s costume and set, as well as Kieran Bradley’s graphic design, complete the wholism of Greig’s vision. Thanks to it, Divine Harmonies is almost divinely harmonious in more than name.

Rehearsal director, Carol Wellman, makes something more than a mere cameo, as a veritable goddess, in a relatively static, yet significant, role, while Trisha Dunn, Malcolm McMillan, Jason Northam, James Shannon & Tanya Voges do the hard yards.

As with much contemporary dance, it’s easy to overestimate the narrative elements (spare me the impressive, but arguably overwrought & laughably pretentious label, on Parker’s piece, of ‘liturgical dance-drama’); however, if one is prepared to largely suspend appreciation via this rather small prism, one will be rewarded with freshness and vibrancy, of a character not redolent of any other group. Tasdance stands on its own two feet (well, a dozen or so, anyway).

Beyond the array of prodigious technical & artistic skills, unmistakably in (abundant) evidence, lies a palpable humility, and understatement (again, I’m not the first to observe it), which is refreshing, in these times of celebrity egocentrism.

There weren’t nearly enough people to witness the individuality of this company: as refined and honed, in all respects, as any dance, or dancers, you’ll see in this country; indeed, I’d confidently wager, many, many others.

The only question in my mind is, when might we have the pleasure again? Who would’ve thought we’d have cause to be, at least, a little bit jealous of Lancestonians?!


Riverside Theatres | Cnr Church and Market Streets Parramatta
Thurs 21, Fri 22 and Sat 23 June 8pm
Adults $30, Concessions $23, groups 10+ $19
8839 3399 or www.riversideparramatta.com.au
Suitable for ages 13+

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