A showcase of diversity and versatility

28 August 2019

Review: WAAPA 3rd year choreography students, ‘Unleash’ ·
Dolphin Theatre, 27 August ·
Review by Lauren Catellani ·

Presented annually, “Unleash” is an eclectic program of dance works choreographed by third year dance students from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). The short self-devised pieces are created in collaboration with composition students and production and design students. Performed by second and third year dance students in the intimate Dolphin Theatre, the program allows audiences to catch a glimpse of the artistic flair and interests of the young dance-makers. This year’s program of 10 works showcases a diverse array of concepts and choreographic styles.

Trajectory, by Meg Scheffers, opens the show with a captivating organisation of bodies, harnessing and building on pedestrian movement to produce a sustained energy and texture amongst the dancers.

A striking design drew me into the trance that is Estelle Brown’s …The Aperture. In costumes that appear red wine soaked, the dancers move softly yet playfully under an installation of wine glasses hanging upside down. The peaceful drunken haze that lasts the entirety of the work is pleasantly intriguing.

Choreographed by Keely Geier, Let’s get mild  is a collection of nonsensical happenings with inspiration from the surrealist art movement. The work is intentionally abrupt, with dancers thrown into the space and new sections unfolding out of nowhere. With a clearly expressed concept, this work shows potential for further development – I’d be interested to see the elements of absurdity explored in more depth.

Dance students in Unleash
‘Let’s Get Mild’ by Keely Geier. Photo: Stephen Heath Photography

In Fundamental Complexities Natassija Morrow takes on the complex notion of how we connect who we think we are with the reality of who we are. Dressed in tasselled costumes, the dancers resemble car wash brushes as they vigorously shake, spin and toss their limbs in space, creating a blurry mess of bodies.

Marnie Fiebig’s light-hearted work Dress Relief delves into the deeper significance of the clothes we choose to wear. Dancers dressed in nude-coloured costumes sort and weave their way through piles of red clothing. The work ends with a particularly interesting image, in which the dancers became clotheslines, holding up strings of intertwined clothes and pulling bodies through the space.

Broken Angels is Thalia Munyard’s neo-classical reimagining of Act II of the Romantic ballet Giselle. The dancers performed with composure and strength, while the choreography seamlessly incorporated gestural movement and floor work into classical vocabulary.

Choreographed by Nathan Turtur [Insert A Generic Contemporary Title Here] is more open to audience interpretation than other works on the program. The dancers are dressed in futuristic blue outfits, with matching blue boxes at the front of the space. They fixate on the boxes performing encircling robotic gestures which are repeated and then expanded into the space.

‘Broken Angels’ by Thalia Munyard. Photo: Stephen Heath Photography

For the Sake of Knowing, by Brent Rollins, seeks to explore how we acquire knowledge, primarily using repetition, rhythmic clapping of hands on thighs and the percussive score by Elliot Creeper to drive this intention.

A highlight of the program, Macon Riley’s So, What was your Answer is a soft, meditative offering inspiring contemplation throughout. Riley incorporates text amongst the movement effectively. The score, by Joshua Jervis, adds compelling layers to this beautifully considered work.

Cassie Tattersall’s retro, pixellated video game fantasy work Level Up is an unexpected but welcome ending to the evening. Though a little monotone in style, the highly animated, video game inspired movement language, remains engaging due to the clever construction and re-creation of familiar images.

2019’s “Unleash” is a highly satisfying program of new dance works and an encouraging display of the versatility and capability of these up-and-coming artists.

“Unleash” runs until August 31.

Pictured top is ‘For the Sake of Knowing’ by Brent Rollins. Photo: Stephen Heath Photography

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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!

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