Tag: Robin Fox

REVIEW: Chunky Move Presents AORTA

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.

Chunky Move AORTA photo Jeff Busby

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

Bookings: http://www.chunkymove.com.au


Fanning creative flames

By Myron My

A single match is struck and a candle lit. Then another and another and another. The darkness that was on stage is soon illuminated by five dancers in Stephanie Lake’s A Small Prometheus.


Performed as part of this year’s Melbourne Festival, the show uses the story of Prometheus from Greek mythology, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to as a gift to the newly-created humanity, to spark off this performance about unpredictability, uncertainty and the fragility of life.

Lake has brought together five extremely talented and strong performers in Rennie McDougall, Lauren Langlois, Alana Everett, Lily Paskas and Lee Serle. I continue to be impressed with the skill and finesse that Paskas (Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box and P.O.V) and Serle (P.O.V) display and the limits to which they constantly push themselves. With such a physically and mentally demanding performance, I was surprised to discover that this is Everett’s professional debut as she is very confident and able on stage.

The show moves between solo and ensemble pieces that are rigidly choreographed, to moments that have varying levels of improvisation which not only heighten the feeling of instability that Lake is creating but also the notion of something more dark and primal at play. Indeed, there are moments where the dancers’ only light is provided by matches and candles, casting many shadows and illuminations.

The fusion of dance, sound and light remains strong and constant throughout A Small Prometheus, but I was just as intrigued by Robin Foxs fire-driven kinetic sculpture which created some powerful moments during the production, and in its own right seemed to lead and guide the performance a certain way.

I was very much drawn into the world created by A Small Prometheus and surprised when it reached its conclusion as it had felt like mere minutes had passed since I began watching. Having seen Lake also perform in A Conversation Piece for Dance Massive earlier this year, it is clear she has a profound interest in exploring dance, music and the self through various means. A Small Prometheus is a clear and fine example of such a show – and should not be missed.

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

Season: Until 20 October | Friday 7:30pm, Sat 2pm and 7:30pm and Sun 5:00pm.

Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Conc | $20 Student

Bookings: www.artshouse.com.au, 9322 3713, www.melbournefestival.com.au or 1300 723 038