Meeting | Antony Hamilton and Alisdair MacIndoeLeft – Antony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe. Photos – Sarah Walker

Antony Hamilton and Alisdair MacIndoe made themselves a dance where they are not in control of what happens on the floor – instead the dance is made by them responding to rhythms made by small boxes tapping pencils. Percussion bots in circle on floor. Music stands create impression of concert. Casually dressed dancers. Clicks taps gentle percussion sounds.

The dancers are looking for something, have memorized movements to go with the tapping sequences. Patterns of tapping, clicking, the dancers become almost mechanical, they are twirling dolls in a music box, they are wind-up toy soldiers beating tin drums, they are stylized dancers in an ancient court dance from somewhere in Asia.

There are moments when the two bodies intersect, relate to each other but it’s almost by accident. Precision is all in this work. Controlled marionettes in a formal duet responding to small yet insistent sounds. The familiarity of the percussion is beguiling, there are times it almost has the rhythm of poetry, the sounds are in iambs, the lines of percussion trip along like morse code, old telegraph transmitters, then turn into the babbling of creeks.

The sounds create images in your mind’s eye. There’s a build-up of suspense, you find yourself waiting for change, you don’t know what the performers will be required to do next.  Now the dancers are flapping their hands, making small controlled flaps. Towards the later part of the dance, the men’s voices come into play, reciting repetitive strings of numbers, making a soundscape out of a peculiar poetry of mathematical utterances.

It’s all weirdly beautiful and satisfying, there’s something so reassuring about the clicks and whirrs. At times they sound like crickets or cicadas. The finale involves the dancers breaking the circle of percussion bots to reconfigure them on the floor and allow them to tap against a variety of objects thus creating other percussive sounds, Then the dancers melt away and we are audience to a mechanical gnomic orchestra that makes us wait to hear it play out its pre-programmed recital. Delightful original stuff.

Arts House, Antony Hamilton Projects and Insite Arts presents
Antony Hamilton & Alisdair Macindoe

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall
Dates: 10 – 14 March 2015
Tickets: $30 – $15
Bookings: (03) 9322 3713

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