AD_Seesaw.jpg
Reviews/Dance

Young creatives show commitment

25 July 2019

Review: Co:3’s Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble, “Project Next 2019” ·
All Saints College – Centre for Performing Arts, 20 July ·
Review by Lauren Catellani ·

“Project Next 2019”, by Co:3 Australia’s Youth Ensemble, allows audiences the chance to ponder art in both its visual and performing states. An annual offering by the youth wing of WA’s flagship contemporary dance company, this year’s incarnation of “Project Next” is inspired by time spent at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. With guidance from industry professionals Laura Boynes, Brooke Leeder and Scott Elstermann, the young dancers delve into their own experiences of viewing and understanding art.

Presented in multiple segments, the work sees the dancers employ their bodies to transform into works of art while also embodying the act of perceiving, feeling and experiencing art work. They skim the surface of related concepts such as observing and being observed, finding strategies that can be used to direct focus, investigating the ways our increased use of technology has changed the way we view art, and exploring ways to reimagine an artwork in a live performance setting. Each section of the work generally provides a simple but nonetheless effective examination of the concept.

A section where an art work is set up in the centre of the space to be viewed, for example, sees a group of dancers gather around. As they try to get a good picture with their imaginary phones, they slowly suffocate the work. This image calls into question the role that our phone cameras play in our engagement with art, perhaps suggesting that we should allow the experience of viewing art to remain ephemeral.

Young dancers calling into question the role that cameras play in our relationship to art. Photo: Stefan Gosatti

Cardboard boxes and handheld lights are cleverly and thought-provokingly utilised to explore the tools artists use to position viewers’ focus, and distort or conceal parts of the body. A particularly compelling section is performed by the oldest group of dancers, who use the hand-held lights to reveal certain parts of their bodies in static positions. As they begin to engage in full body movement, this becomes more complex; images become blurred as bodies merge and dissolve into the the dark space.

Compelling: The oldest group of the dancers. Photo: Stefan Gosatti

The ensemble is a well-connected and energetic group of dancers and, while the age groups are visibly separated by different costume designs and choreographic sections, the way the pieces are knitted together ensures that the work, as a whole, feels seamless.

All of the dancers whether they are 7 or 16 have the opportunity and the confidence to share their individual movement qualities and personalities. There was, evidently, space within the choreographic process for the young performers to explore their own creativity; a credit to their choreographic leaders Boynes, Leeder and Elstermann. It was most enjoyable to see the level of commitment to the work’s intention, both physically and emotionally, from all of the dancers no matter what  their age.

“Project Next” is an annual event. This year’s performance played July 19-20. Find out more about the Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble on the Co3 Australia website.

Pictured top: The ensemble’s commitment was evident throughout. Photo: Stefan Gosatti.

Like what you're reading? Support Seesaw.

Author —
Lauren Catellani

Lauren Catellani is an independent artist based in Perth. She graduated from WAAPA in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance (Honours). She has since worked as a collaborator, performer, teacher and is a founding member of the dance collective Fonder Physical Theatre. Her favourite piece of playground equipment is the monkey bars!

Past Articles

Read Next

  • A tsunami of subversion
    Reviews

    A tsunami of subversion

    26 January 2021

    You might want to brace yourself for Patrick Marlborough’s radical gloves-off stand-up in On Fringe, but it’s well worth the effort, advises Xan Ashbury.

    Reading time • 4 minutesFringe World Festival
  • Reading time • 4 minutesFringe World Festival
  • Millennials strive for Covid gold
    Reviews

    Millennials strive for Covid gold

    25 January 2021

    The 2020 Isolympics is an entertaining and tongue-in-cheek mish-mash of dance, story and parody, reports Daisy Sanders.

    Reading time • 4 minutesFringe World Festival

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio