Taking place on The Gold Coast, April 17-28, the 2019 Bleach* Festival has a diverse dance program, including new work from Gold Coast-based dance theatre company The Farm.
Entitled Throttle, the work unfolds in a makeshift drive-in at Mudgeeraba Showgrounds, the headlight beams of audience members’ cars cutting through the darkness of the otherwise abandoned field. Audience members tune into a dedicated radio station as the unsettling story begins to unfold in front and around them, with car stereos broadcasting eerie instructions and sound effects their cars.
Throtte is a drive-in thriller, says Bleach* Artistic Director and CEO Louise Bezzina. “Throttle has elements of stunt, the thrill of surprise, the eeriness of a stage lit by car headlights and incredible sound design that comes through your car stereo so you never quite know where the action’s coming from or what’s coming next.”
Throttle expands on ideas first explored in the company’s 2009 dance-thriller roadkill. “roadkill was the first time we explored the horror genre in a dance context; an outback horror that left some audiences so freaked out they asked to be escorted to their cars at the end of the show,” says co-creator Gavin Webber. “We were proud that we genuinely scared people with contemporary dance in that way. Throttle kicks things up a gear.”
Dancenorth will bring Tectonic, a free 15 minute performance installation at Burleigh Beach, to Bleach* Festival. The work will use see dancers use 180 fit balls embedded in the sand as micro-trampolines.
Tectonic is inspired by the plight of the tiny Poruma Island community in the Torres Strait whose island home is eroding and sinking due to climate change, say director/choreographer Kyle Page and rehearsal director Amber Haines. “Poruma Island is home to 180 residents and is about as close to paradise as you can get. However as global sea levels begin to rise, Poruma Island is disappearing,” says Page. “Tectonic breathes life into the stories of the Poruma Island community, which has nurtured a deep connection with the natural environment for generations, choosing to live in concert with the world around them.”
Tectonic is an examination of shifts – shifts in land, sea, time, space and thinking – staged against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, continues Haines. “Tectonic is a collective journey, a shared responsibility, toward creating a sustainable future. Together we unravel the often-imperceptible shifts that surround us day-by-day, drawing attention to the accumulative effect of these changes and their potential to disrupt a viable future.”
On This Land We Gather, by Luther Cora will also take place on Burleigh Beach. Featuring Luther Cora and the Yugambeh Dancers, Gather will open the festival with a ceremony that highlights the significance of the Burleigh Headland — Jellurgal to the local Aboriginal people. The Festival will be closed with Farewell, as Luther Cora and the Yugambeh Dancers lead a ceremony that acknowledges the land that has hosted the festival and all the artists and audiences who have participated.
Also on the Bleach* lineup is Nick Power’s Between Tiny Cities, a work that sees dancers Erak Mith (Phnom Penh) and Aaron Lim (Darwin) use the rituals, movement styles and language of their shared hip hop culture to explore both the dramatically different worlds that surround them and the choreographic links that unite them.
Lastly, Tammy Zarb and Co will present Inside Out, a site-specific work that explores the Abedian School of Architecture, in which audiences glimpse dancers from different perspectives as they travel sloping pathways, and discover intimate rooms, spiral staircases and soaring expanses of concrete.
For more information about these performances and participatory dance events head to https://bleachfestival.com.au
Pictured top: "Throttle" by The Farm. Photo: Artwork Agency.