Left – Luke George. Photo – Laurent Phillippe
Choreographer and dancer Luke George drifts into the audience’s consciousness while we are watching producer and sound creator Nick Roux on the floor in front of a mirror with an electric guitar, an amp, a drum, busy making music, and adjusting volume.
The build-up in the beginning of Erotic Dance is very slow as the music repeats and ebbs and pulsates. Eventually George comes on wearing only a T-shirt and draped in a long shimmering marle silk veil which he uses to create poses reminiscent of erotic photographs from the 1920s or to suggest a liquid-like train. He sways in repetitive movements, perambulating around the room, covered then uncovered. The music is electronic, growing into an industrial and engine-like sound and creates awareness of the body in opposition to the machine. George’s nakedness frees his body; he is releasing himself from expectations, almost eschewing performance in this intensely private work which is yet playing with notions of the public gaze and erotica. The body here is responding to and absorbing waves of sound, spinning at times then collapsing against the amp.
At times the dance is a duet with the sound but this relationship shifts and it becomes a fight, there are moments where the dancer is paying homage to technology, others where he is electrified and controlled by it, although the issue of control is always in question. There is a ‘second movement’ beginning when George, his face hidden behind the drum, costumes himself in a mint green body suit and trainers and now the focus is on his voice as he blows raspberries against the miked drum, the solemn start of an avalanche. The music born of his utterances swells and what ensues is a sublime twinning of movement and sound growing together. The dancer staggers to his feet; there is no winner; the energy becomes frenzied, it challenges.
Erotic Dance is a remarkable work, the imagery and mood stay with you. You get the full sense of the fragility and power of the body, especially when the sound becomes noise and threatens to overwhelm. This happens towards the end when naturally, the dancer’s energy must be depleting. Erotic Dance offers a terrific range and depth of experience, and a concept extended and ultimately resolved.
2016 Festival of Live Art
Luke George and Collaborators
Venue: Arts House | North Melbourne Town Hall, VIC
Dates: 2 – 5 Mar 2016