Still Point Turning

Lynne Lancaster

Linda Luke's solo performance in Still Point Turning is powerful and hypnotic.
Still Point Turning
Image: www.riversideparramatta.com.au

Direct from a sell out season as part of Melbourne Festival, Still Point Turning is the last in this year’s season of dance presented by Form at Riverside Parramatta. Choreographed and performed by Linda Luke, it is strange, dark, powerful and hypnotic work.

A dance piece ‘exploring ideas of time – from dreamlike, floating, and the circle of life, to the everyday world of alarm clocks and panicky work schedules. Another major theme is the idea of stillness and the often hidden effort this involves, creating an almost surrealist and abstract quality to the performance.

Originally inspired by TS Eliot’s poem Burnt Norton, a major part of the work is performed in silence, contrasted by an ominous soundtrack.

In an extended solo as performed by Linda Luke you can see the de Quincey and Butoh influence (Luke is a major member of the de Quincey Co). Luke’s movements are slow and controlled, at other points they appears robotic and twisted. There’s lots of slow motion movement, a sense of exploring space and time unhurriedly, yet there also some extremely fast and wild movements and links to the giant pendulum that hovers on stage.There are some off-kilter angular and frenetic snatches of movement which are contrasted with the slow motion. Luke changes from being apparently confused by the twists and turns of time to accepting its solitude and exploring the abyss which it exists.

Another of the themes of this work is looking and the art of observing. At the end of the show the house lights are brought up and Luke stares at us calmly for a moment, poised like a sculpture, hands held in a fist and bathed in golden light. Then blackout.

Luke wears a delightful dark blue 3/4  length sleeveless ensemble. The work begins very gradually with her emerging from a coat and the audience ends up seeing both sides of the coat which has a red lining. Luke starts off huddled and twisted and eventually stands and becomes barefoot after she teeters around on white Geta shoes, the kabuki style high platform sandals.

There are dramatic uses of shadows and at one point it is as as if Luke is shadow boxing, perhaps with her inner self, or other scary beings? The lighting changes are mostly very subtle with wonderful use of projections by video artist Martin Fox some of which are like swirling galaxies or rain, others providing a sense of peace and beautiful stillness.

A mesmerising, multi-layered powerful and hypnotic work.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Still Point Turning
Parramatta Riverside

Choreographer/Performer: Linda Luke
Composer: Vic McEwan
Video Artist: Martin Fox
Lighting Designer: Clytie Smith
Costume Design: Justine Shih Pearson

27 - 29 November 2014

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

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.