With A Bullet: The Album Project first premiered in 2006 and now, thanks to the Full Tilt platform at the Art Centre, it has just experienced a second working – a remix, so to speak. Now it’s remastered!
It’s a great project – witty, humourous, and down right entertaining. It showcases some of Melbourne’s choreographic movers and shakers and the format of the project lets them have some fun.
Natalie Cursio conceived the idea and asked her peers to choreograph a dance piece to the first song to which they ever made up a dance. There’s Cyndi Lauper, Leif Garrett, The Who…even Elmer Bernstein gets a look in.
For this remastered version, there are new pieces by Carlee Mellow and Bec Reid as well as the addition of extra dancers (which gives some of the sections more of an ensemble feel). The transitions and technical side of the show are a lot smoother than in its original version.
Contemporary dance can be so serious, so cerebral and of course, very abstract, so it’s very refreshing to see choreographers who audiences associate with that sort of work letting loose and showing us a slice of their inner dag. All the pieces have a bite, although some work better than others.
When I first saw the show last year I loved Shannon Bott’s Won’t-Might-Does and it still packs a strong punch. In duet with the ever-versatile Gerard Van Dyck, Bott uses the music of Dave Warner From The Suburbs and an old car seat to evoke a 1950’s inspired scene of repressed sexuality at the drive in. It cleverly slices gesture, post-modern contemporary dance and even some swing dancing with great character acting from the pair.
Van Dyck is equally hilarious in Michelle Heaven’s Pillock (music: The Who) in which we watch him meticulously mark out a large square on the floor with masking tape and then proceed to prance carefully around its periphery in an odd mix of ballet, awkward social dancing and mime. Dressed in a blousy white top tucked into tight black leggings, he’s a strange cross between Marcel Marceau and the nerd from high school who always danced alone at the school formal.
Speaking of which, Cursio’s Mild Things (which opened the show), was that school formal re-enacted through dance. Fighting over a boy, smoking in the car and brief lesbian experimentation all had a look-in in a fast paced ride. Dressed in 80’s taffeta dresses with puffy sleeves and too many bows, Jo Lloyd and Bott were a great team with aforementioned boy (Alisdair Macindoe) and supporting female dancers.
I could go on and on, but special mention to Jacob Lehrer whose gluteal muscles defied gravity in all sorts of obscure isolations in Phillip Gleeson’s Bathetic. With his back to audience and wearing only a G-String and blond wig, Lehrer was a stoner on a special trip to the new age sounds of Dueter Chiatanya Hari. Van Dyck’s The Magnificent Something featured dancing skeletons performing shoddy magic tricks and Mellow’s Happy Hour had a group of helmet clad (push)bikers thrashing around a cocktail bar (staffed by Lehrer in shirt and tie, but no trousers).
With a Bullet: The Album Project Remastered is a fully engaging hour. It’s pretty light, but the quality of the dancing and choreography elevate it to a much higher level than any school concert or amateur hour. It is the kind of accessible contemporary dance (and there is not that much of it around, actually) that appeals to younger dance audiences as well as the general public. I do not think this Full Tilt season necessarily reached this market, which is a shame.
With such great resources at the Arts Centre, as well as very reasonable ticket prices, Full Tilt productions should be bridging this gap, bringing in audiences who are enthusiastic, but not necessarily used to coming to the Art Centre. As Full Tilt continues to evolve and bring fantastic, youthful, more experimental shows into the venue, the marketing has to find ways to connect to those potential audiences. Besides the fact that they would love what is on offer, they are our future dance community and patrons of the arts.
Full Tilt at the Arts Centre presents Nat Cursio Co's
With A Bullet: The Album Project (Remastered)
Venue: Fairfax Studio | the Arts Centre
Dates/Times: 28 Nov - 1 Dec @ 7.30pm (Sat Matinee @ 3pm)
Tickets: Full $28 Conc & Under 26 $23
Bookings: 1300 136 166 or theartscentre.net.au