Reviews/Dance/Fringe World Festival

A peek at potential

6 February 2020

Nina Levy takes note of local dance works and performers to watch for in ‘MicroMove’.

Review: Various artists curated by Rachel Arianne Ogle, ‘MicroMove’ ·
The Blue Room Theatre, 4 February 2020 ·
Review by Nina Levy ·

Now in its third year, The Blue Room Theatre’s “MicroMove” program is an opportunity for WA’s independent choreographers to present short pieces and works-in-progress, and a chance for audiences to see the early stages of the creative process.

It’s not just the moves that are micro. The intimacy of the Blue Room’s main space is both a plus, in that we can see dance at much closer range than in more traditional venues, and a minus, in that sight lines are sometimes compromised.

In this year’s program, curated by local dance artist Rachel Arianne Ogle, there are 10 works overall, and each of the five performances involves four or five of them.

Opening night began with Sister, the 22-year story of sisters and choreographers/dancers Ayesha and Rhiana Katz. A series of memory-vignettes, comprised of movement interspersed with video footage, ranges from sweet-faced toddlers performing childhood favourites, to teenage make-up rituals.

A swooping duet begins in unison, but subtle differences in delivery eventually see each sister take her own choreographic path. This rendition of sisterhood felt a bit rose-tinted but was nonetheless relatable (as someone who has a sister) and beautifully performed.

Flower and Skin is a solo work devised and performed by Giorgia Schijf, a graduate of WAAPA’s Link Dance Company honours program. With a mellow background soundscape of guitar and street noise, Schijf is bathed in golden light as she dances. The program says the work is about seeing nature as a living thing, but it felt more about Schijf’s youthful enthusiasm.

At the Blue Room’s Winter Shorts last year, choreographer Tahlia Russell manipulated a small portable greenhouse on stage. In The Farm, she continues her exploration of physical boundaries, this time using a small plastic fence that creates a kind of playpen (or prison?) for solo dancer Storm Helmore.

It has more than a touch of horror – in the darkness that’s eerily punctuated by handheld lights, in the shifting electronic soundscape, and in Helmore’s upturned face as she writhes and twitches. It’s promising stuff.

My favourite work was Girl and a Microphone, choreographed and performed by Isabella Stone. Creature-like at first, Stone makes her way to a microphone placed centre stage. The soundscape is already intense, a reverberating loop that sends Stone careering around the space, and the audience is about to amp it up, at her instruction. It’s exhilarating but the power of this work lies in Stone’s questions to us at the end, so relevant at this time of climate crisis.

The final opening night work was Scott Galbraith’s Into the Dark, a solo work performed by Lilly King that explores the play of light on the dancer’s body. Issues with lighting meant the stage was not as dark as intended for this work, but nonetheless, a rippling and rolling section in which King manipulates and responds to the movement of a torch beam was intriguing to watch.

As in previous years, “MicroMove” is an opportunity to see the seedlings of works that may, with care, grow into fully-fledged works.

MicroMove is on at the Blue Room until 8 February 2020.

Pictured top: Isabella Stone in the short dance work, ‘Girl and a Microphone’. Photo: Emma Fishwick

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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