Depth Charge | Buzz Dance TheatrePhotos - Bianca Turri, The LOFT Group

Buzz Dance Theatre was founded by dancer Derek Holtzinger in 1985 and specialises in producing contemporary dance theatre for particular age groups ranging from primary to tertiary children and young adults. And although they market for kids, make no mistake – they are professional and highly skilled group of dancers.

Featuring Shannon Anderson, Sofie Burgoyne, Sharlene Campbell, Joshua Mu and Rachel Ogle and set in a futuristic science lab, the company's latest offering Depth Charge is their take on the possible outcomes of genetic modification and artificial consciousness. Scientist Miles Retro (played by Musical Director Leon Ewing), obsessed with the task of “creating creativity,” engineers five trans-humans – in essence, cyborgs – and every day continues to test their behaviours. They are captives, but to what end? Will these new beings held hostage seize their own power and become the captors?

The themes in the piece are certainly timely and thought-provoking and the space is filled with the possibility for exploration. There is much enjoyment to be had watching the first four of the scientist’s creations in turn create a fifth – conducting their own inspection of his expressions and form. And although sometimes falls somewhat short on a linear level and it is difficult to decipher the plot without notes, the dancers are clearly strong and the visual imagery is powerful when it works.

Ewing and his guitars are a powerful and human presence on stage while the digital soundscape is jarring and speaks of electricity and machinery and this creates a nice juxtaposition. Some of the multimedia, however, including the film footage, requires a high degree of synchronicity from the performers as they must mirror the dancers on screen, and this isn’t always achieved, rendering the film an unnecessary distraction.

In addition to this, the slower, subtle routines seem a little long and I think the piece would benefit if more time were allocated to the sharper, louder and more dramatic sections. Having said, that I enjoyed the performance, and am sure the dancers and the piece will only get better and tighter as the season continues.

Buzz Dance Theatre presents
Depth Charge
Venue: The Playhouse Theatre, Perth
Dates: May 6 to 16, various times (11am, 1pm, 7pm)
Tickets: Adults $25 / Children & concession $18 / Student groups (10+) $16
Bookings: or 9484 1133

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