Seymour Centre: Short+Sweet Dance

This is the final week of Seymour Centre's most exciting season of Short + Sweet Dance with some brilliant works and some rather flat, disappointing pieces.
Seymour Centre: Short+Sweet Dance
The final week of this most exciting season of Short + Sweet Dance had some brilliant works and some rather flat, disappointing pieces. The opening work was Cecile Farrar's 'Murder My Sweet'. A quite strong cocktail in the sexy, seductive Fosse style mixed with Chunky Move at times it had a marvelous slinky final pas de deux. It dramatically opened with a searchlight falling on two overturned chairs and was inspired by film noir femme fatales - but why the lip-synching and long black gloves (that did not complement the terrific short dresses) and the blindfold? Next up was Perun Bonser's 'Lessons on Dating in Broome'. Vaguely Latin American ballroom in style, it examined family reputations and we see both sides of a relationship - through her eyes, but mostly through his mustachioed long haired narration. I am afraid it didn't really take off. One of the highlights of the evening was the extraordinary Richard James Allen's 'Do Avatars Dream of Human Sleep'. It combined both computer generated imagery and on stage performance in a terrific blended world where they interact and the boundaries are blurred. It begins with computer work but then curly haired, lion - like Allen catapults suited but barefoot onto the stage. At times the choreography for the rather large cast was quite sculptural and there were some spectacular solos for Allen. More please! Great contrast was provided by Miranda Zeller's Al (one), examining an intimate relationship. Overall, a very intense, extremely controlled piece. Beginning with 1940's dance hall in style, movements, at times echoing and or/mirroring, were also sharp and disjointed in some segments and in others there were whirling turns and spectacular lifts. The space the dancers used in this piece was mostly very tightly enclosed (around the chairs) but expanded at times to include the floor and more stage space. 'I am my diary' by twenty past four productions was danced very well but I am afraid was disappointing. The live music (jazz trio) didn't quite mesh with the choreography. The four dancers (different fragments of one persona?) were all totally self centered, submerged in their own worlds of their busy post- it note schedules. There were lots of obsessively repeated movements. It began quite intriguingly with the dramatically lit circle of notes for each dancer but rather ended going nowhere. 'Old enough to party' choreographed by Tracey White I am afraid didn't really inspire me either. It had live music as well (up in the gallery) and was a 1960's-musical-ish style rather clichéd celebration of jazz dancing. The dancers wore rather snazzy red and black costumes but again one was rather left in a void. The amazing 'In Vain' however, choreographed and performed by Martin Del Amo was brilliant. In a breathtaking solo with feral makeup and wild hair, Del Amo explored the 'notion of desire, pride and dignity in the face of adversity'. It's about a human attempting to transform into a bird but is much more than that. At times Kabuki or Butoh inspired, with a fabulous sculptural line that is sometimes broken or bent, Del Amo was like a young chick struggling to learn to fly with quivering arms. 'Ordinary People' by Jacqui Howard and Jason Winters, while purporting to be about' a young man's journey through life', was, for me, perhaps more about reliving memories, a sense of community and a feeling of group joy or mourning. The dancers were all in white and there were touches of Graeme Murphy and Matthew Bourne in the choreography. The overall feel was reminiscent of Ailey's 'Revelations' perhaps. I loved Susanne Richter's floaty, sea-weed like costume in 'Los Enamorados' and the proud, slinky ballroom dancing was very well done by both Richter and her partner Anmol Mishra, but I am afraid it didn't sizzle at all. The grand finale was Travers Ross' 'Cross', combining urban contemporary dance, pole dancing, break dancing and film in a captivating snapshot of life at Kings Cross - including druggies, young lovers etc and a hooded secret superhero figure (?) who threw himself off the walls - that left one wanting to see more. Now for next season... PERFORMING ARTS REVIEW: Seymour Centre - Short+Sweet Dance SS+D week 3: 10-14 March Venue: Seymour Centre Downstairs Theatre | Corner of City Rd and Cleveland St Chippendale Times: Tues-Sat 8pm, Sat 4pm Tickets: $28/$23 concession Bookings: Seymour Centre Box Office 02 9351 7940

Lynne Lancaster

Monday 16 March, 2009

About the author

Lynne Lancaster is a Sydney based arts writer who has previously worked for Ticketek, Tickemaster and the Sydney Theatre Company. She has an MA in Theatre from UNSW, and when living in the UK completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells, linked in with Chichester University.