Dance project Occupied opened at the Blue Room last night as part of their Summer Nights Series. This event was marketed in an intriguing way and, although I am not an expert in dance technique, it interested me enough to go along with the intention of reviewing the experience from the perspective of a general audience member who appreciates the art form.
The atmosphere was built from the outset, as the audience filtered into a nightclub environment, complete with live DJ and doorman. The one set piece was a toilet (sans door), the vehicle to bring the characters together. The repetitive action at the beginning of the show set up the relationships between the girls.
The program suggested that the plot would begin with a group of ladies enjoying a “harmless” night out at a club and then lead us to consider what the risks and consequences may be. Contemporary dance and music has the potential to tell powerful and emotionally evocative stories, however I would say that the themes, in this production, were either too subtle or too abstract to make us deeply consider the situations the girls may have gotten into. What did work really well, was the humour and the sequences that remained committed to character and the story. There was a beautifully executed section between the two young friends who seemed to be experimenting with alcohol. The movement while one was sick and the other helped was harmonious.
Toward the end of the show, while the dancing remained just as skilful and passionate, the relationships and plot seemed to dissipate, and the resolution was unclear. I enjoyed the performance, but feel that there was greater potential to really connect with the audience.
The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights & Ashleigh Berry present
Venue: The Blue Room Theatre | 53 James Street Northbridge
Dates: 31 Jan – 4 Feb 2012