In the heat of a heartbeat
By Myron My
I’m always looking forward to award-winning choreographer Stephanie Lake’s next work. Having seen A Conversation Piece at Dance Massive in which she performed, and then her creation A Small Prometheus during Melbourne Festival this year, where both works pushed the limits of what dance can be in unexpected directions, I was expecting something big with the world premiere of Lake’s new piece: Aorta.
Instead, Lake has stripped Aorta back to basics. She uses three dancers (James Batchelor, James Pham and Josh Mu) to share her thoughts on how our interiors perform on the surface. Lake explores the notion of how blood moves and circulates throughout our systems and opens out into themes of mortality, growth and decay.
As with any work commissioned by Chunky Move, the performers themselves are of a high caliber. Batchelor, Pham, and in particular Mu remain highly committed and execute some intricate and impressive moves. They work extremely well together when remaining dynamically in sync with each other, but then also excel when performing solo parts. Pham’s segment towards the finale was a firm highlight of Aorta.
Keeping in line with this minimalist approach, the costuming by Shio Otani has the dancers wearing costume pieces constructed of thick rope, providing the imagery of veins running through the body. The sound composition and lighting by Robin Fox is also effective, with the sounds heard being reminiscent of hearts beating, blood pumping and life itself.
Despite all these elements coming together so well, I did leave feeling comparatively unfulfilled with Aorta. Perhaps it was because of my previous encounters of Lake’s work where so many aspects of the production are used to capacity to create strong emotional environments and moods. It’s still an interesting and unique piece but not something that I will remember as strongly as her others.
Venue: Chunky Move Studios, 111 Sturt St, Southbank
Season: Until 30 November | 7:30pm, Sat 2:00pm
Tickets: $30 Full | $20 Conc