Where the Heart Is | Expressions Dance CompanyCover - Riannon McLean and Timothy Farrar. Photos - Fiona Cullen

So you like to watch people who think they can dance? Well look outside your lounge room ‘cause this troupe of local Brisvegans aptly called, Expressions, are showing the city how it’s done. Six accomplished dancers perform the choreography of Natalie Weir for the first time in where the heart is, an emotional exploration of the notion of home, told through the eyes of a young Queensland man.

Within an abandoned old house the trials and tribulations of the home are relived with skilled partner work rich in acrobatic lifts and throws. The choreography is literal enough to tell a clear story without getting too Swan Lake-ish in style. As the story unfolds from the memories of this nameless man, the dancers each take on a role within the family unit, with standout performances by Richard Causer in the lead role and Elise May in the part of the grandmother.

A score composed by John Rogers and played on live piano and violin is accompanied with haunting vocals by Pearly Black. The music could best be described as melodramatic, maybe a little too so at times, and though the dancing is no less masterful, there is a pervading sense of disconnection between the movement and the sound. It adds a harsher edge to the piece and, perhaps intentionally, causes the audience to squirm in their seats on the discordant high notes.

Bruce McKinven designed a perfectly dilapidated old Queenslander for the performers to interact within. Different sections move up and down stage and there is a beautiful opening image when the young man pulls the memory of his family members out of a glowing gap in floorboards. Reverie and solemnity set the general mood, as the family struggles through loves lost and found, and parent and sibling disharmonies.

In the end, the young man comes up trumps, putting away the ghosts of his past and moving forwards. Natalie Weir has shown her talent with this piece, an engaging and powerful contemporary dance work that confidently bonds the ties between theatre and dance. Expressions Dance Company continues to carve its path as leading Australian artists and where the heart is could well be a landmark work for them. If you enjoy the dance on telly, this is a ticket you’d do well to grab, and see the beauty of contemporary dance in the flesh.

Expressions Dance Company and QPAC Present
Where the Heart Is

Choreography by Natalie Weir

Venue: Playhouse QPAC
Dates: Fri 28 May – Sat 5 June 2010
Tickets: $23 - $52
Bookings: 136 246 or www.qpac.com.au

Now playing Brisbane

Drummer Queens

More reviews by Tessa Leon