Bromance is a term that encapsulates the tight bonds between men. These bonds are platonic, but almost romantic in their intensity and attachments. It’s great inspiration for contemporary dance, a medium that explores both physical and emotional relationships. Even though talented male dancers abound in this city, there is little to no exclusively-male contemporary dance on Melbourne stages, so Bromance (choreographed by Alisdair Macindoe and Adam Synnott and directed by Macindoe) is an especially intriguing idea. It’s a work for four young male dancers (Macindoe, Synnott, Lee Serle and Jay Robinson).
In an absolutely huge cavernous space that feels like an underpass or vacant car park and lit only by long trains of harsh florescent lights, two males walk in lines, breaking into occasional gestures but keeping their distance from each other. Two others join in and occasionally move into unison sequences of jumping jacks and some post modern dance phrases. There is a formality and restraint to proceedings with the occasional hint of humour. Glimmers of comraderie, competition and bravado between the men all emerge.
This gives way into an extended sequence of aggressive freeze-frame poses in spotlights in which one single man (Serle) appears the victim of three physical and emotional bullies. Much later the mood shifts to joking duets and sequences with more quick, aggressive energy. There are references to breakdancing, video games, comics and an extended verbal duet that is both an internal stream of consciousness and a conversation between two mates hanging out in the city.
There are many ideas here and many are explored well; some are overextended. Through all the different manifestations of the bromantic – childlike games, teenage menace, adult companionship – there is a similar dark, almost foreboding texture where increased light and shade may have created more impact.
Macindoe is an emerging director/choreographer and he’s a talent to watch. This is his second full-length work and there are clear influences of artists like Byron Perry, Lucy Guerin (who mentored the development of Bromance) and Gideon Obarzaneck, all highly-experienced and respected dance makers. Macindoe also has their abilities with clear choreographic structure and technical assurance.
For such an emotional subject, Macindoe has played it very cool. While skillful in construction, Bromance doesn’t hit the heart strings. Even though it has moments of humour, it is physically and emotionally far removed from its audience and never really lays its four males bare. More sleek than sentimental, it keeps its distance. While this is a conscious and very valid aesthetic choice, it doesn’t exploit the opportunity to explore the more visceral, gut-hitting potential of the subject matter. It’s virtuosic, highly contemplated work with much to admire, but viewers who want to feel the bromantic love may leave a little hungry.
Next Wave, Arts House and Lucy Guerin Inc present
co-choreographers Alisdair Macindoe and Adam Synnott
Directed by Alisdair Macindoe
Venue: Arts House, Meat Market | 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Dates/Times: Wed 26 – Sat 29 May 8.30pm; Sun 30 May 5.30pm
Bookings: 1300 727 432
Part of the 2010 Next Wave Festival