Men jumping in the air
Calendar, Dance, July 19, Music, Performing arts

Dance, Music: The Tap Pack

2 – 6 July @ Various venues ·
Albany, Bunbury, Mandurah, Perth ·
Presented by The Tap Pack in association with
SK Entertainment ·

They sing. They dance. They joke. This is Old School cool from the New Kings of Swing. Following sold-out houses in London, Edinburgh, Beijing, Berlin, and fresh from sold out shows at The Sydney Opera House, Australia’s newest and hottest tap dance sensation, The Tap Pack bring their high energy, tap comedy show tour to WA from 2 July.

Picking up where The Rat Pack left off, the Tap Pack conjure up a modern twist to the crooners and artists from the 50s through to the noughties! Featuring songs from Sinatra, Dean Martin & Sammy Davis Jr to Sheeran, Bublé and Beyonce, The Tap Pack mix slick humour, high energy entertainment and world class tap dance.

With dazzling performances on stage, dressed in slick suits and equipped with sharp wit, The Tap Pack is a highly entertaining act featuring some of Australia’s finest tap dancing performers tapping up a storm.

Starring a rotating cast of Australia’s finest and most distinguished dancers and singers, The Tap Pack cast lists credits such as West Side Story, Anything Goes, Singin’ in the Rain, Fame The Musical, The Great Gatsby, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, Saturday Night Fever and The Boy From Oz to name just a few few. They bring a new, invigorating energy to a timeless style that the whole family can enjoy.

More info
W:  www.thetappack.com
E:   ali@limelightconsulting.com.au

Pictured: The Tap Pack

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Three women dancing in semi-darkness
Dance, News, Performing arts, Reviews

Transporting hearts and minds

Review: Sym Parr, The Presence of Wool ·
Shearing Shed North of Albany, 14 April ·
Review by Maree Dawes ·

Sym Parr has been working with community dance projects and the concept of the shadowy remnants of things – including wool – for over five years. The Presence of Wool is a culmination of both these strands.

From the outset, this work has a time-shifting quality; most audience members arrive by bus, swept from the city through the darkening streets, then country roads, to arrive at a shearing shed in the last of the light. The tea and coffee available for patrons on arrival could have been laid out for shearers past.

The shed is large, distorted by shadows and decorated with repurposed woollen artefacts. Its structures creak as it stirs in the cool wind, augmenting composer James Gentle’s soundscape. Though the work takes place, predominantly, inside the shed, the mind of the viewer is swept with the dancers, through paddocks, trees and pens, over fences into the wool stalls.

A group of dancers, moving in smoky semi-darkness.
Smoke billows through the slats, evocative of fire. Photo: Bob Symons.

The cast consists of professional dancers Rita Bush, Cayleigh Davies and Talitha Maslin, alongside community dancers and local dance students, all of whom perform with noteworthy focus, energy and joy in movement. Exciting changes of pace are heightened, both by the range of experience amongst the dancers and by the choreography, which encompasses mechanical movements, characterisations of 1950’s workers, child-like play, struggle and death.

Dim lighting and an uneven floor ensure that audience members’ senses are on high alert as they make their way through the shed, directed only by flashlights. One scene sees lighting and smoke billowing up through the slats, evocative of a fire. In another, a dancer (Talitha Maslin) flees through the darkness, slamming gates and thumping the corrugated walls – an escaped sheep, the cook on the rampage? At times, the movement of the audience is distracting but it can also been seen as part of an immersive experience.

Three dancers in a shed, they each step one foot forward and spiral towards the front foot, arms held up as if in surrender.
The dancers perform with noteworthy focus, energy and joy in movement. Pictured (L-R): Cayleigh Davies, Talitha Maslin and Rita Bush. Photo: Bob Symons.

The inexorable soundscape has its softer moments, possible reflecting on childhood or pastoral scenes. More often, though, it amplifies the edginess of the performance. The shed is a character in its own right and Gentle’s sound recordings from local sites – including the old woollen mills (foundations laid 1923), voice recordings of people who worked in the mills and snippets of 1950’s pop tunes – are central to the creation of that character.

With little divide between the viewer and viewed, the audience is wrapped in the experience. In the final moments three dancers are silhouetted by hand-held lights, out in the paddocks. Audience members drift in, closer and closer, until suddenly it is over and the doors of the bus open.

On the bus ride home I think about refugees, homelessness, poverty, death camps, animal welfare, childhood games, meaningful work, precious fabric, shedding the unwanted and repurposing. The Presence of Wool is an immersive experience that stimulates heart and mind.

The Presence of Wool had its season in Albany, April 12-14.

Pictured top, from left to right are Rita Underwood, Annette Davis, Jassica Hesford. All photos by Bob Symons.

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By Other Eyes
Calendar, Choral, Music, November 18, Performing arts

Music: By Other Eyes: Armistice Choral Project

11 November @ Field of Light: Avenue of Honour ·
Presented by Vancouver Arts Centre in conjunction with Matt Ward and the Vocal Performance Initiative supported by West Australian Opera ·

Join the cast of professional and community performers from across the Great Southern as they perform a new work of choral-theatre broadcast live from inside the Field of Light: Avenue of Honour to commemorate the Centenary of Armistice.

Set against the backdrop of the First World War, this new work offers a contemporary perspective on what it means to truly remember. Created in partnership with local Noongar elders and the people of the Great Southern, By Other Eyes provides a visceral insight into our human experience in 2018.

Featuring the recorded voices of over 1000 children from across the Great Southern, a live ensemble, singers from the West Australian Opera, local soloists and a mass choir, By Other Eyes will be staged in the immersive surrounds of Bruce Munro’s Field of Light: Avenue of Honour installation on Mt Clarence, Albany.

The 7pm performance will be broadcast live on local radio and streamed online. For more information on accessing the stream please see the website.

By Other Eyes is produced by the City of Albany’s Vancouver Arts Centre in conjunction with Matt Reuben James Ward and the Vocal Performance Initiative, supported by West Australian Opera.

This project has been made possible with generous support from Lotterywest, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (Culture and Arts), and Albany Community Radio.

More info:
W: http://www.anzacalbany.com.au/by-other-eyes
E:  arts@albany.wa.gov.au

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Open Water
Calendar, July, Visual arts

Visual arts: Open Water: The Offering

 7 – 28 July @ Moana Project Space.
By Erin Coates & Anna Nazzari.

In “Open Water: The Offering” artists Erin Coates and Anna Nazzari incorporate underwater video, drawing and scrimshaw to portray their unique vision of an Australian Oceanic Gothic.

Taking a true event as a starting point, “Open Water: The Offering” is based on an incident that occurred in 1965 in the coastal town of Albany when a well-known whaler and gunner on The Cheynes III (a whale chaser) lost his leg after it became entangled in a rope attached to a harpoon fired at a whale. The film charts the imagined journey of a detached human leg, gifted to the Southern ocean and its inhabitants by an otherworldly cetacean. The exhibition builds upon Coates and Nazzari’s most recent foray into the Australian Oceanic Gothic, an internationally award-winning screen work: Cetaphobia, and draws from the existing knowledge of maritime histories, specifically those connected to Erin’s seafaring heritage and the whaling industry in Albany, Western Australia.

www.moana-ari.com

Open Water
Erin Coates and Anna Nazzari, Open Water: The Offering (still), 2017, HD video with stereo sound, 4:45, Sound design: Stuart James.
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