Theatre review: The Beaten Track, Musgrove Studio

By Raewyn Whyte

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Liana Yew. Photo / Kellie Blizard
Liana Yew. Photo / Kellie Blizard

A delightful quirky miscellany of approaches to contemporary dance comprise The Beaten Track, a collection of seven mostly solo works which branch out into new structures and movement vocabularies and offer seven very different moods and settings for the audience.

In Ooops, by Mike Holland, he is a heap on the floor, all tied up in lengths of fabric with weighted ends. Tossing the ends away from him lets him move a little more each time, eventually untangling the ties to stand and take a few steps.

A heavy breathing score by Josh Tilsley sets the mood.

Dancers emerge from film into the space of the stage in two work. Annabel Harrison's Stone Cold Tea finds her balancing on teacups on film, then atop brick-sized sculptures by Rachel Wells on stage, with CocRosie music as an underlay.

Little Critter brings Elise Chan and Serene Lorimer on to the stage, already high on their mastery of a particularly insane fitness exercise which recurs in bursts throughout the dance, interspersed with more conventional moves set to cheerful music by Andrew Bird.

Two works hold the promise of further development.

In 50 cent a day, Liana Yew and Georgie Goater mark their territories with vinyl tape and adopt BBoy aesthetics to create unexpected movements and phrasing. A series of riveting moments keep you following the action, which is accompanied by an Addison Course score, and you are left hoping for more.

Serene Lorimer's My Right Hand is Hiden in a Big Black Glove... is accompanied by deconstructed Dale Carnegie text about winning friends and influencing people, and she provides whirling easy movement and strangely apt counterpointed sequences which still allow you to hear the words while following the logic of her body.

Memorable moments occur, and again there's a sense of more to come in future.

The other two works feel more developed, and certainly provide satisfying viewing.

Clare Luiten's opening work, re.new.al, feels very much like a celebration.

Opening with the ritualistic lighting and placement of six candles to create a narrow corridor for movement along the right side wall of the space, this steadily expands across the floor until it has all been marked by the touch of her naked body, merging with the shadows which clothe her skin into some kind of multi-dimensional space.

There is a rich sympathy between the dance and the music by David Leahy, featuring a plucked and bowed double bass, at times overlaid by other strings.

Katie's Beaten Track begins with Katie Burton shaking and vibrating as if she is both drums and drummer in the Rat Salad drum solo by Black Sabbath.

Next is a very extended sequence developed in the past year, beginning easily but replete with unexpected shifts and sudden changes of direction and level, covering plenty of ground and going to the floor, or going against the grain with small jumps and some allegro passages - very satisfying to watch.

She completes the triad with material borrowed from her students, and you see her influence in their phrasing.

What: The Beaten Track
Where: Musgrove Studio, December 6 & 7, at 8pm

- Herald online

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