Reviews/Contemporary dance/Dance/Perth Festival

STRUT delivers 15 minutes of flame

9 February 2023

Crystal Pite’s bold choreography delivers 15 minutes of scintillating dance for Perth Moves: 10 Duets on a Theme of Rescue.

Perth Moves: 10 Duets on a Theme of Rescue, STRUT Dance
State Theatre Centre Courtyard, 8 February 2023

Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite has won numerous global awards for her formidable style and visionary ideas – manna to contemporary dancers who love a challenge. Which is what STRUT Dance is all about and why, no doubt, they chose Pite’s 15-minute 10 Duets on a Theme of Rescue to perform in this year’s Perth Festival.

Over many years STRUT has invited such choreographic luminaries as Pite, William Forsyth, Ohad Naharin, Hofesh Shechter, and Lucy Guerin to come to Perth and share their technique with the WA dance fraternity.

As the previous AD Paul Selwyn Norton pointed out, learning such global signature choreography can both attract and retain new artists in WA.

Well, its bountiful impact on dancers, and audiences alike, can be seen as STRUT dancers perform10 Duets in the spacious State Theatre Centre Courtyard, once in daylight and again about two hours later in dusk.

Being only 15 minutes, it seems over in a flash of brilliance so it’s wonderful to think you can see it again there and then. It’s not often you get the chance to watch the same piece twice, so make sure to stay because in between the shows you are offered the chance to take to the dancefloor yourself, have lessons in contemporary dance or salsa or even partake in a dance battle.
If you’re a reluctant performer, you can just sit with a glass of something from the bar or a gelato and have fun watching the more courageous revellers. Or perhaps get a bite to eat and come back.

Pite’s 10 Duets on a Theme of Rescue, set to Cliff Martinez’s music for the 2002 film Solaris, was created to encapsulate the complexity and heartbreak of relationships.

Opening cast members Georgia Van Gils, Hope Keogh, Mitchell Aldridge, Scott Galbraith and Jayden Wall are luminous in their ability to fully engage with the powerful drive of the piece and its poignant undertones, sometimes as rescuer and sometimes in need of rescue.
Under daylight, and with designer Jim French’s moveable spotlights, it is possible to see in the dancers’ faces, the bruised lyricism of their pain and longing, and almost viscerally feel the hard thrusts and embraces of Pite’s timeless drama.
Particularly moving is a sequence when the inimitable Keogh, hand outstretched, waits for a hunched up, loping, exhausted Wall to reach her. Galbraith is always exciting to watch, here wrestling with others or himself, and hurtling across the floor with a breath-taking energy, whilst the fluid and supple Aldridge creates complex characterisation as rescuer or rescued.

Perhaps the highlight of the evening is the duet between Van Gils and Wall where they seem adhered to each other’s bodies – Van Gils kicking and sliding up Wall’s body in a powerful manifestation of female strength and power. Marvellous to watch.

In the dusk performances (starting tonight) 10 Duets will take on a different perspective with the spotlights creating corridors of alternating light and dark across the stage, directing attention to the force of bodies yearning, wrestling and rolling along the floor. 10 Duets on a Theme of Rescue closes Sunday – don’t miss it.

It’s free and fabulous.

Perth Moves: 10 Duets on a Theme of Rescue continues at the State Theatre Centre Courtyard until 12 February 2023

As part of Perth Moves, STRUT Dance is offering a range of free dance and movement classes at the State Theatre Centre Courtyard – find out more.

Pictured top: Jayden Wall and Mitchell Aldridge STRUT their stuff in 10 Duets on a Theme of Rescue. Photo: Jed Lyall

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Author —
Rita Clarke

Whilst studying arts at UWA Rita found herself working at Radio 6UVSfm presenting the breakfast and Arts shows, and writing and producing various programs for ABC’s Radio National. A wordsmith at heart she also began writing features and reviews on theatre, film and dance for The Australian, The Financial Review, The West Australian, Scooby and other magazines. Tennis keeps her fit, and her family keeps her happy, as does writing now for Seesaw.

Past Articles

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    It’s a privilege to witness the stunning dexterity of choreographer Raghav Handa and musician Maharshi Raval as they disrupt the traditional roles of Indian dance with grace and charisma, says Rita Clarke.

  • Straight talk reveals resilience behind anguish

    Despite its focus on the inhumanity of incarceration, Jurrungu Ngan-ga has the audience laughing and on its feet with admiration, writes Rita Clarke.

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