DANCE REVIEW: Complexions Contemporary Ballet

This was a full house, standing ovation performance. 'Complexions' blends traditional classical ballet with the edge of contemporary dance, in dynamic, energetic performances which explore all aspects of society.
DANCE REVIEW: Complexions Contemporary Ballet
This was a full house, standing ovation performance. Complexions blends traditional classical ballet with the edge of contemporary dance, in dynamic, energetic performances which explore all aspects of society. Arranged into three distinct acts this performance offers a diverse array of contemporary ballet. The performance begins with a two part exposition on the life of a dancer. Beginning with 1st Movement – The Rehearsal, the routines and warm-ups are carefully worked into the flow of the piece, and the interactions of the dance group in their daily livers, are playfully acted out. The audience is given a glimpse into the lives of a dancer, the selection process and auditions as well as the individual personalities of the dancers. This performance is followed by 2nd Movement – The Performance. The Performance contrasts the ‘rawness’ of The Rehearsal. Here we see crispness, precision and unity. Visually, the performances compliment each other. In The Rehearsal we see brightly coloured clothing, suited to exercise and movement, distinct from The Performance in which the women duck, weave and pirouette in striking black and gold costumes. The highlight of this arrangement was, however, the most impressive, intricate patterning of movement that made an almost solid decorative panel reminiscent of a Celtic border, infused with lively energy. The second act is comprised of five contained performances which build up strongly to the final act. This act was by far the most diverse. It begins with Gone, a dance to the soulful voice of Odetta singing ‘Another Man Done Gone’, a deep bluesy tune with sounds of the South. This dance resonates with the struggles of conflict and survival. The following dance Momentary Forevers, juxtaposed to Gone, creates a stark contrast. In this, there is a feeling of frivolity and playfulness. The use of red and orange lighting to create the appearance of a carpet and the warm tones of the dancers’ costumes creates a feeling of warmth, yet in the interplay of the dancers there are also moments of separation and hesitancy. Fal’ begins with the crashing sounds of waves and is cool where Momentary Forevers is warm. The long soft fabrics of the dancers’ dresses create a feeling of femininity, but far from simply being attire the flowing cloth is used as props to movements. This piece is closely followed by ‘Moody Booty Blues’ which is a charged performance. The movements are vivacious yet refreshing as the choreographer Dwight Rhoden, captivates sultriness in the dancers with out descending into lewd dancing. The final performance in this ensemble is Moonlight where a solitary dancer grapples with the colour of his inner emotions. The only performance to use props, a single chair and a bunch of bright red flowers and with soft focused lighting this performance is set apart from the rest with the depth of feeling the dancer creates and is a sobering close to the second act. The third and final act draws from the music of U2 and investigates love in all its complexity. This was by far the most popular, combining familiar popular music described as ’the anthems of a generation’ with contemporary dance. This performance was exceptional, with dynamic lighting casting strong shadows, highlighting the movement of the dancers. This created a light and dark visual effect which placed each dancer on stage in sharp focus. The crescendo of the performance was danced with ferocity and an energy which pulsated throughout the audience. The movements were alive, and the dancers were clearly enjoying their performance as much as the audience. This performance ended with vigorous clapping and calling and finally a standing ovation which was well deserved. Artfully choreographed with a blend of contemporary and classical ballet, Complexions is a top level performance. Complexions Contemporary Ballet Diary details Venue: Adelaide Festival Centre Show times: 8 pm Show dates: 10 – 12 March Cost of tickets: Premium $80, Adult from $45, Conc from $40, Student from $30 Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre's Pivot(al) program

Jade Wildy

Wednesday 11 March, 2009

About the author

Jade Wildy is an art theorist and historian based in Adelaide, Australia and she is currently studying for a Masters of Art History at the University of Adelaide. Jade holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts, with a major in ceramics from the University of South Australia. Jade aspires to become an art writer and researcher to pursue her love of visual art and art history. Her current research interests centre around contemporary art with a particular focus on Environmental Art, but she also has a love for psychology, biology and contemporary culture through art, music and dance. Jade enjoys working in her established home studio, as well as fiction and arts writing, and have written numerous reviews for ArtsHub Australia on both visual and performing arts in addition to several book reviews.