Monday, June 3, 2013

R & J

Expression Dance Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre presents Natalie Weir's R and J, at the Riverside Theatre, Parramatta.

After attending contemporary dance programs, VANGUARD and G I travelled out to Parramatta to see the Queensland based company, Expressions Dance Company, on its tour around Australia with Natalie Weir's R & J.

This is work inspired by the Romeo and Juliet romance. It is not a dance or ballet of those lover's story. It is rather three short scenes set across three different eras. The choreography of each act: PASSION, ROMANCE and DEVOTION, is basically a duet, intruded briefly by a third character. The movement is mostly sculptural entwinements, gymnastics and untidy mime set to, what I found to be, a disconcerting contemporary, "jazzy" score by John Babbage and pre-recorded by Topolgy Music. The third piece was the most interesting, witty, if predictable in narrative form, but relatively, well executed.

The above video clip of this work, makes one question if the exhaustion of the tour had taken some of the physical vitality and emotional commitment away from the dancers? Is there enough technical supervision of the work on tour? Does having the pre-recorded music reduce the impetus of the dancers? For, the performance, I saw, at Parramatta, did not, create, leave the same impression as the video clip!

The company of dancers were Michelle Barnett, Benjamin Chapman, Thomas Gundry Greenfield, Elise May, Shannon Mclean and Jack Ziesing. The set design was by Bruce McKinven, lighting by David Walters.

The company included, but have not acknowledged, the use of a group of young dancers (local dance studios?) to move/act as extras in the first two pieces - a trifle lifeless and dull- (under rehearsed?)

I was not overly enthused by these works, as danced, performed, on the night I saw them, particularly, after the excitement and disciplines, skills of G and VANGUARD.


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