Review / QL2 ‘Connected’ still to success

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TO a crackling, industrial soundscape, the QL2 dancers began to explore the “Act of Contact” – the first of three pieces exploring what being “connected” means.

An awakening, a stirring, and a realisation of their own selves and their responsiveness to contact, was explored in a literal, physical sense, portrayed by tremors and shaking. Contact here had a ripple effect, demonstrating a wider inter-connectedness within relationships and society. A sensitively performed hyper-response to gentle touch of limbs and body perhaps suggested a sexual awakening.

The red costumes used for choreographer Sara Black’s piece contributed to the portrayal of the energy and intensity of human touch. Generally, there was a neutrality around  gender and physical size, with balances and lifts and partnerships performed in many different combinations. As well as demonstrating the ideas of connection and contact, this allowed the dancers insight into part of the intimate physicality of modern contemporary dance.

At times the multiple groups and actions going on at once diffused the focus of the piece, but a smooth transition into the ending which saw the group come together, with individuals weaving in and out of a rotating line was visually clever and utilised the space well.

Black’s choreography was perfectly suited to the ages and impressive standard of the dancers and was executed maturely and uniformly.

More shaking and trembling opened Kristina Chan’s dance “Infinite”, with UV light (or lighting to that effect) beaming down on the dancers, representing plants or organisms beginning to grow. Chan’s choreography used slow, controlled movements for much of the routine.

Fluidly performed, the dancers delivered a tight ensemble piece that, although billed as examining the connection and interdependence of humans and the natural environment down to a microcosmic level, came across as an evolutionary process. Millions of years of gentle existence and resilience performed by one or two dancers, swaying softy to galactic sounding music, morphed into more threatening observations of life forms, likely existing deep in the sea, before evolving into land creatures. The dance built to an intense and dramatic climax. It was easy to relate this to the rapid changes around us and the pace of life today.

A huge ensemble tackled “All our Might”, making it a complex task choreographically. Lingua Franca’s (Alison Plevey and Adam Ventoura) “strength” themed choreography comprised vocalisations and exhalations during repeated martial arts sequences portraying power and endurance, in a polished and synchronised display. A very literal interpretation of strength was depicted with sound bites from superhero movies and “tough” movie characters, before a segment full of lifts and many passages of the groups across the stage.

Voiceovers, presumably by cast members, described situations where they had required strength, with the focus on a practical and emotional response. Age and experience limited potential depth in this exploration. Although competently choreographed and performed, the segments and elements, such as the slow motion footage of body parts, didn’t always gel with each other or readily tie in thematically with being “connected”. The performance was high energy and did conclude nicely, coming back to the breath – perhaps that is what connects us – to our bodies and to life.

The entire show, including the finale, embodied perfectly pitched choreography, producing an even performance, with transitions and timing en pointe. The dancers were physically challenged, yet allowed to shine in their considerable talent and enthusiasm.

Again QL2 has produced an exciting collaborative platform to showcase choreographers and dancers, connecting with interstate and international young dancers in the process. In particular, Amelie Allen, Shantelle Wise-McCourt, Caroline de Wan and Ruby Ballantyne impressed in this cohesive production.
The dancers spoke afterwards of the enjoyment and reward of being so connected to the creative process.

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