Stephanie Lake and Robin Fox: A Small Prometheus -
Melbourne Festival -
Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 16 October -
Stephanie Lake's new work A Small Prometheus is a series of kinetic conversations around the interplay of flame and sound. It enacts a kind of worship of fire-light through the invocation of the physical, sonic and olfactory. Above all, it is a dynamic piece of choreography where bodies spark off one another and its largely abstract nature allows for the exploitation of a wide range of movement vocabularies.
Starting in dim light, candles are lit within three kinetic sculptures that resemble shrines. The sound of matches being struck and the flare of light follow with the heat finally driving the sculptures into clanking motion. Mirroring the sculptures, the dance is mechanical at first, with explosions of jagged movement and shape making. Sound and bodies bounce off one another and it is often hard to distinguish the initiator in this symbiotic relationship.
The work moves swiftly through phases of convulsive shuddering to more fluid dance and then to pairings and whole group interactions. Every move is clearly anchored in the influence that it will have on proxemic bodies. Sound crackles and combusts, propelling fireworks through the dancers' bodies.
Another section has a ritualistic element and involves an interplay of candle lighting with the music and action of match-striking. Dance using a greater articulation of the limbs emerges from this. A solo enacts movement that resembles licking flames. In another episode, dancers collapse, bonelessly into one another to a throbbing, rumbling, soundscape. The work eventually comes full-circle as some of the imprinted movement language is re-referenced and a kinetic sculpture is re-lit.
Lake is a consistently impressive choreographer and her work is highly involving and provokes in me a kinaesthetic engagement. Her dancers for this work were wonderful: Alana Everett, Lauren Langlois, Rennie McDougall, Lily Paskas and Lee Serle. The collaboration with Robin Fox worked perfectly.
- SUSAN BENDALL