I am a big fan of Expressions Dance Company. I’ve really enjoyed the productions I’ve seen to date. Last year’s Where The Heart Is and Carmen were stunning.
Natalie Weir’s intention to launch a platform for young, emerging choreographers is a laudable one. In LaunchPad dance makers Liesel Zink and Lucas Jervies created successful duos. But, it’s a big leap to make a work for seven dancers and then for Weir to stage the result as a part of EDC’s mainstream annual program.
In Propel (the next step) there were two works. Synapse choreographed by Zink and Apples and Eve by Jervies. The opportunity to work with seven dancers gave these young talents a blue skies opportunity to dream up a bigger, more significant work. The concept of Synapse was intriguing, triggered by an interest in space and how the energy of individuals impacts upon collective behaviour.
Zink puts it this way. “Seven humans land on a blank state of a world. How do they act, react and interact with each other”? So far so good yet translated into dance, the realisation of the idea was clunky, the pacing awkward, the flow stunted, the moves self-conscious, unconvincing. Synapse took too long to fly. The utilisation of this talented dancing crew, restricted initially to grid lines, then to travelling flurries, shuffling chairs and inelegantly dismantling a giant grey jigsaw was dull and dated.
All I could think of was how tragic it was that these brilliant, brave dancers were hobbled – like super-charged racing cars restricted to second gear and driven around a car park. Isn’t it important to create work that enables a dance company to soar, to use the ensemble’s finely honed skills ingeniously, to work with EDT’s signature style?
Instead, the resource of seven dancers was a waste. The magnificent seven were chattels, victims of still or awkward moves. There was a lot of “hanging about” in a stilted expression of an idea.
In Apples and Eve there was irony, humour and satirical, playful swipes at the Bible’s story of Adam and Eve and Ballet too in this dance-theatre piece. The costuming was quirky especially the Serpent’s dress festooned with apples. And, Samantha Mitchell was amazing as Eve. She breathed life into the words, danced with her heart and soul. She held the piece together. But, once again there were dancers in still poses, mere observers. Apart from the convincing choreographic focus on the duo; the others had little to do.
Expressions Dance Company in association with Queensland Theatre Company presents
Propel (the next step)
Venue: Billie Brown Studio | The GreenHouse, 78 Montague Rd, South Brisbane
Dates: 28 February – 2 March, 2013