On saturday night, i had the great fortune of being able to check out the last show of the performance Assembly, on as part of the melbourne arts festival.
a collaboration between victorian opera and chunky move dance company, i was intrigued by the outline in the festival program, and by the seemingly unlikely pairing.
the tickets were SUPER expensive, so my best friend (a dancer) and i almost didn’t go. until she overheard her dance teacher talking about how amazing it was. so we rifled through our possible discount options and, thanks to us both being RRR subscribers, got ourselves some cheap tix (still $60, mind).
after a bit of a kerfuffle with our seating, we settled in for what is probably going to be my favourite event of all year.
i’m not kidding.
it ticked so many boxes for me that within about 10 minutes of the performance, i had tears in my eyes from the beauty and ‘right’-ness of it. i know, so Ancient Greek of me, but whatever.
It was just stunning.
I’m not so great at writing/talking about dance*, so please excuse the simplistic review, but it was fuckin’ ace.
The work was essentially about crowd movement. Gideon’s discription of it in the program outlined it well. He wrote of seeing choreographic a group as a single entity and how that translates into public gatherings. Each of the ‘movements’ within the piece addressed different types of crowd movement – the collective form, the beauty of patterned chaos, the swarm and how and individual can divide a crowd so quickly.
The dynamics between the performers was incredible and they must have just practiced and practiced and practiced. It was a perfect example of controlled mess.
Singers vs Dancers
As the program mentioned, it wasn’t an operatic piece that was ‘illustrated’ by dancers. It was truly a collaborative piece: the singers danced and the dancers sang. There were a small group of prinicpals from each side who led significant pieces, and supported by about 40 all-rounders.
The set was a brilliant double-sided, wooden staircase that added dynamic and cluey percussive elements to the dances. The movement thread up and over, up and across, down and over the stairs.
It added a percussive element to the otherwise accompanyless music, which I thought was pretty nice. And i almost wished for a little bit of tonal variation in the steps – not much, but just enough to click me.