Girls on Boys at Dancehouse is a curated evening of short, solo dance works, choreographed by ‘girls’ and performed by ‘boys’. This already exciting idea from Gulsen Ozer is joined with the decision to create the music separately from the choreography and overlay it at near to the last minute. Consequently the music, composed by Wendy Morrison, provides a unifying structure to the disparate works, allowing the audience to view them as parts of a single piece.

Although none of the works seem to be overtly about gender or masculinity, surprisingly, it seems unavoidable to me that a dialogue about these themes wouldn’t be opened up, given the premise. If I tie together a theme, and it isn’t necessary to do so but for me it is irresistible, these works can be seen as expressions of masculinity as if it were something men try on for size, not always fitting the boy.

The lighting is simple and generally seems aimed to be not distracting, and the costumes function well. Adding to its list of already exciting ideas, Girls on Boys is performed in the round, but unfortunately not all the choreographers were able to cope with that setting, which was disappointing. One work seemed to be determined to ignore the setting altogether which, to me, is a really odd and frustrating choice to make. Working with the setting would’ve certainly added a further dimension to the works.

The Boys were a charismatic bunch who appeared to be working off the energy of the audience. David Backler choreographed by Dianne Heywood-Smith and Lee Serle choreographed by Dani-Ela Kayler (the program notes, though filled with information, are oddly lacking in biographical info about the dancers and choreographers), were the stand out works for me.  However, as the choreography and quality of the dancers was strong, I am sure my preferences are only a matter of personal taste.

Girls on Boys, curated by Gulsen Ozer, is a thought provoking evening of 5 exciting new, solo dance works. Not all the works took the risks available to them, working in the round for example; a decision which perhaps reveals the choreographers’ varying levels of experience. Nonetheless, it is interesting to view men through the eyes of women for a change.

Dancehouse presents
Girls on Boys
Curated by Gulsen Ozer

Venue: Dancehouse | 150 Princes St Carlton North
Dates: 28 May to 1 June 2008
Cost: $20 /$15 concession/members
Bookings: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 9347 2860

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