Natural Wings have developed their own magic that moves beyond circus skills and engages us in the intimate dialogue of contemporary dance. The choreography taps into experiences and feelings that lie in the spaces of our shared existence that are without words, beyond words and yet affect us deeply, more than the power of words.
Elements has enjoyed an extended development, and FringeWorld audiences are fortunate to see the current incarnation as a duet, a blend of graceful strength, elegant movement, light-hearted interactions and infectious rhythms. Opening with Dawn Pascoe and Ruth Battle using the floor of the Big Top to move together, their bodies move with the beat to form complex symmetries, physical Art Deco motifs. Moving to front of stage, Pascoe plays with a low trapeze, swirling around a pile of sand on the floor as she builds up pace and then dances on, under, through, over and around the trapeze, casually passing through poses that would be milked for applause on other stages.
The trapeze is pulled aside and Battle takes her solo turn up and down the rope. With a subtle shift in music, Battle effortlessly strikes her poses, moves with poised precision with control down to her toes and fingertips, even when she is spinning upside down and sideways. She might as well be a ballerina rehearsing in a studio, with no audience, no stifling heat, her nonchalant grace is never disrupted and there are no little cries for applause, no popping of eyes, as she serenely loses herself in the moment of the dance.
From playful splashing of water to intense full-body drops and catches on the high trapeze, there is never any mugging for the audience. The piece is its own entity, and draws us in, with beautiful movement, bewildering strength, breath-taking flexibility and a soundscape melding music from many cultures, all pulsing with a vibrant urgency, literally pushing the performers higher. The titular elements of earth, air, fire and water may all be represented here, but the theme is not hammered home, leaving each spectator to find their own meanings in the movements.
The audience is asked to refrain from applause until the very end of the show, allowing the dance to unfurl and develop at its own pace. There are pauses though, in this hot and humid venue, for the performers to dry and dust themselves, allowing them to keep a safe grip on each other. It is so easy to watch, so easy to forget that what is going on in front of us is not without risk as both Pascoe and Battle are so calm and accomplished.
In the end we emerge from the battered, hot Big Top with the feeling of having witnessed part of a montage, a stage on a journey being taken by two very talented aerial artistes.
Natural Wings present
Venue: Big Top | The Pleasure Garden, James Street, Northbridge, WA
Dates: February 2 – 15, 2015