Like most of the contemporary dance works presented recently, Lucy Guerin's Flux Job was created over an extended period, in and out of lockdown. Themes of distance, isolation and aging permeate in a mix of highly stylised abstract dance and text-based theatre.
Initially, the quartet of dancers exist as solo organisms, talking to themselves in low breathy murmurs, their fleeting grasps and reaches ultimately recoiling inwards. Flat rectangles of bright, colourful lights slide and shift with each body, framing one apart from the other and skimming the floor like a slow-moving screensaver.
Performers Tra Mi Dinh, Amber McCartney, Lilian Steiner and Geoffrey Watson are all excellent, especially proving their skills when Flux Job shifts tone and small, fussy choreography gives way to pulsing, percussive unison movement.
Before that happens though, the dancers sit at a long table, applying make-up in front of individual mirrors and recount personal stories of social anxiety and isolation, exorcisms and apocalyptic weather. By scene's end, the dancers have all aged themselves with the cosmetics and look eerily transformed.
It's a literal theatrical device in what is mostly an abstract performance. In lesser hands this dramatic interlude could fall very flat, but in Flux Job it doesn't seem contrived and actually advances the major themes. That's all part of the reason that Guerin is one of this country's top dance makers.
She's a master organizer – so much so that Flux Job has extremely distinct sections that ultimately merge into a satisfying whole. There's just enough touch of narrative to give the audience something to hang onto and plenty of beautifully constructed pure dance sequences to appreciate the dancers' wide-ranging abilities.
This happy convergence is also possible because of the directional input of dramaturge Adena Jacobs and a first-rate design team including lighting designer Paul Lim, composer Jethro Woodard and costume designer Andrew Treloar.
Lucy Guerin Inc presents
Choreographer Lucy Guerin with the dancers
Venue: Arts House | North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne VIC
Dates: 16 – 20 March 2022
Bookings: artshouse.com.au | (03) 9322 3720