Review / When dance meets science in the dark

Dance / “The Galaxy Project,”for Dance Week. At Mount Stromlo Observatory, May 5. Reviewed by SAMARA PURNELL

THERE was a touch of cosmic anticipation driving up Mt Stromlo on Friday night to wander around in the dark with a crowd of people of all ages, before watching “The Galaxy Project”.

Flirting with fans

Canberra choreographer Lea and Jazida created this short work to coincide with a public astronomy night and as part of Dance Week, to be performed in the burnt-out dome at the Observatory.

Lea collaborated with members of the GOLD dance company, Debora di Centa and Jazida (winner – Miss Burlesque ACT 2016). Inspired by the science of astronomy and galaxies, the stars of the show drew on their individual dance styles. This felt a little ad hoc, with regard to the fan dances in particular, so these were performed with music that tied it in, Don McLean’s “Vincent (Starry Starry Night)” for example.

Tender partnerships

The GOLD dancers appeared as a celestial cluster, as the Pleiades (Seven Sisters), in dark sparkling robes. Much of their choreography was measured and contained yet was quite mesmerising and powerful. It was somewhat foreboding, and had the feeling of interstellar “beings” trying to pass on a message from Space. Tender partnerships were formed in understated choreography between a couple of the older male dancers and younger female dancers.

There seemed to be  a lack of awareness between many of the dancers around each other’s timing, but  while  the fan dancers were not in sync with each other, they danced elegantly, creating beautiful shapes both with their bodies and fans.

Lea and Jazida, used their fans and fabrics to flirt and interact with the children sitting in the front row and peering through the window spaces, much to their delight. Jazida’s subtle body manipulations, sensual, understated movement and huge dark eyes, peering out from under heavy glitter eye shadow were captivating.

Liz began the show in a ball gown, disco hair and silver stars and re-emerged in a white dress and feather boa, as a swan, Cygnus, (a northern constellation), which played into Lea’s love of birds.

Dancers performed in half the space, leaving the other half for observers to stand, so viewing was potentially restricted for those not in the first row or two. The blue, purple and pink lighting was dramatic but at times left the dancers a little underlit.

“The Galaxy Project” utilized an intimate, dramatic venue to create the same feel in an atmospheric performance, set to ethereal music and DJ beats, an exciting, cold collaboration in a growing local program blending dance and science.

The event was sold out.

 

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