Sydney Opera House
August 29 2012
By Kristy Johnson.
Spring Dance Curator, Rafael Bonachela, commissioned works by Emily Amisano, Stephanie Lake, Larissa McGowan and Lisa Wilson for this year’s festival. Chosen “because of their unique talent and different approach to dance-making”, Contemporary Women ticked all the right boxes when it came to creating four innovative pieces of choreography for Sydney Dance Company.
First and foremost, it was exciting to see four of Australia’s most talented female choreographers create a repertoire of works, performed by the best of Australia’s contemporary dancers. Usually we aren’t privileged to see a complete program solely of female choreography.
Kicking off the night was Desire by Queensland’s Lisa Wilson. Focusing on the internal forces that drive us or make us hesitate or waver in action, inspiration came from the interior landscape of body and mind. A brilliant cast including Emily Amisano, Lachlan Bell, Thomas Bradley, Juliette Barton, Richard Cilli, Janessa Dufty and Bernhard Knauer, brought together the landscape of body and mind with connectedness and fluidity of movement.
Fanatic by Adelaide’s Larissa McGowan provided great comic relief and was by far my favourite piece of the night. Using humour and physical expression, the dancers investigated what happens when Alien and Predator movie fans express their emotions through youTube. Laughter was often heard from the audience throughout the entire piece.
Dancer Emily Amisano, who performed in Desire, returned as choreographer for the third instalment of the night, Yield. Sydney based Emily, examined how we come to understand others through their behaviours, reactions and limitations, by considering the balance within a relationship. A playful nature was depicted through the use of props including stools and mats, as well as the expressions shown on the dancers’ faces.
The final piece of the night, Dream Lucid, was choreographed by Melbournian Stephanie Lake. Stephanie asked the audience to consider a modern dilemma. Are we able to be an individual in a society so highly controlled or is our freedom simply an illusion? This was evident to see through the dynamic choreography, and inability of the dancers to escape contact by other artists.
The clever use of lighting for the program should receive a mention. Benjamin Cisterne created depth to the performances through flickering lights, which caused the choreography to appear more dynamic and intense at times.
By the amount of applause given at the conclusion of the night, it was evident I wasn’t the only one who thoroughly enjoyed each performance. Each piece was innovative in its own right, had one captivated by the sheer level of talent of the dancers, and entertaining. Once again, Sydney Dance Company did not disappoint.