Tag: Lucy Guerin

Review: CONVERSATION PIECE at Dance Massive

Dancers and actors blend – and battle…

By Myron My

In Lucy Guerin’s Conversation Piece, three people appear on stage and have an eight-minute conversation which is recorded using a trusty iPhone. This conversation is different each night and is completely improvised. From there, that conversation is played on loop that creates various experiences for the six performers and audience members through acting and dance.

Conversation-Piece

The dancers (Stephanie Lake, Alisdair Macindoe and Byron Perry) have great fluidity in their movements and were great to watch dancing together. There were a few moments that lacked synchronicity but as a whole, it was pretty hard to take our eyes away from them. Likewise, the three actors (Matthew Whittet, Katherine Tonkin and Megan Holloway) seemed completely at ease in their roles. What was of interest to me was having the performers doing the opposite of what they were trained in. You could see the obvious level of skill that the dancers possessed over the actors and vice versa yet they all held their own with strong commitment to what they were creating.

In the performance I attended, the standout work was the pairing of Macindoe and Whittet. Their combined efforts using the earlier conversation to create a ‘new’ one, and the dancing that then came from that was highly enjoyable as was its later intensity. Furthermore Tonkin’s improvised stinging speech to Lake using the original conversation as inspiration was amazing to watch with heightened tension thanks to lighting designer, Damien Cooper.

Conversation Piece doesn’t go where you initially think it will – this is its strength. What begins as a light and humorous conversation does take a few dark turns and the last few minutes are particularly sinister which leaves you with a feeling that these two art forms – dancing and acting – cannot co-exist. They both need to be in control, to be the leader, as if they are rival gangs fighting for turf. This mood crept up on me but then hit me quite suddenly and took me to some unexpected places. Conversation Piece is playing as part of the  contemporary dance festival Dance Massive and despite its grim outcome, creates a beautiful fusion between dance and performance.

Venue: Arts House, Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne

Season: Until 24 March | 8:30pm, Sat 2:00pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Concession

Bookings: www.dancemassive.com.au

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REVIEW: Lee Serle’s P.O.V.

Experience the dance like never before

By Myron My

Commissioned by Lucy Guerin for contemporary dance festival Dance Massive and choreographed by Lee Serle, P.O.V. is a unique dance piece that looks at proximity, reactions and interactions with audiences as participants rather than just mere observers.

Being fortunate enough to grab one of the 36 swivel stools on the stage, I was thrust into this bold experience. The four dancers – Serle, James Andrews, Kristy Ayre and Lily Paska – appear and begin dancing in unison through the grid-like formation, gradually breaking off, going down various paths, like balls in a pinball machine.

P.O.V.

It’s very much an up-close-and-personal-feeling as an audience member, seeing the heavy breathing and the sweat dripping off their brow. These guys are definitely giving all they’ve got – and it works.

We are initially ignored and you can’t help but feel like an intruder. Eventually we are acknowledged and then warmed to and then we interact with the dancers in extremely unique and personal ways. P.O.V. is about blurring the line between audience member and participant: looking at how we deal with each other and what we feel from that. As Serle himself explained in his notes, it is much like life and about taking the time to interact with one another.

I went through a range of emotions throughout P.O.V: laughter, warmth, intrigue and even loneliness when asked to wear a blindfold and to experience part of the show in that state.

Hearing movement and laughter and not being able to see it allowed me to go in a deeper place and explore those emotions for some time and it was quite a moving experience. Upon removal of the blindfold it was a surprise to see everything that had occurred in the space of those minutes to other participants: all safe, all fun, and all-willing.

P.O.V. is part dance and part theatre performance and was a great introduction to Dance Massive. Highly recommended show, but do get in early to grab one of the seats on stage, as it really does make the performance so much more unique.

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St

Season: Until 16 March | 8:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings:  www.dancemassive.com.au