Dance and music ensemble Collusion will present a new work, Turbine, choreographed by Gareth Belling at MELT Festival, in Brisbane this month.
Featuring contemporary dance and live music, Turbine is a work about power and identity. Questioning what is ‘good’ and what is ‘right’, Turbine places the audience face-to-face, in two banks of seating, with the performers in the middle.
“This is an incredibly personal work,” says Belling. “Its starting point was large-scale political themes - Marriage Equality (Yes!), Climate Change/Denial - but it quickly drilled down to our experiences and memories of growing up different. Our shared experiences, and those that differed. Bullying and marginalisation featured, as it does in many male dancer's stories, but my own experiences were tempered by the age range in the cast - I'm 37, while Jacob is in his early 20s - so there's a range of experiences with our dancing and our sexualities.
“I'll be performing alongside dancers Michael Smith and Jacob Watton. It seems appropriate that I put my body on the line in this way, after so many LGBTI elders did the same in much more profound and dangerous ways so that we can live at this time, in this way. Increasingly those stories of Pride, of political protest, and the inheritances of the queer community have been front of mind. As the historic Yes vote came in, a sense of sadness for all those people that fought so much harder than I ever had to have surfaced.
“This is about more than sexuality, about much more than gay male identity. Our personal stories have been used as a flashpoint for discussions about men and masculinity, politics and power, equity and marginalisation. We are searching for a resolution at the moment, as a society, and I'm cynical as to its arrival. Choreographically, resolutions seem to be the hardest thing about this work. Trios and duos form, and then fall away. Relationships blossom, and quickly wilt. Solos, especially my own, stutters as I search for a way to express myself. Ballet shapes feature, but they are decentered from their princely, formal references, becoming something more akin to a physical knowledge or inheritance.”
Turbine plays the Brisbane Powerhouse, 23-26 May.