• Photo: White Space Photographic Studio
    Photo: White Space Photographic Studio

Dancebourne Arts: “Balance” -
Clock Tower Theatre, Moonee Ponds, 10 July -

In line with the trend for local artists to expand their professional skills and expose themselves to new audiences by making and presenting their own work, is Melbourne company Dancebourne Arts. Founded last year by dancer/choreographer Luanne Hyson, "Balance" was the company's second program and it lived up to the high expectations set by "Pointe, Line and Surface", which was seen in its inaugural season. Dancebourne Arts works to highlight the artistry of female dancers in particular.

For this season, three choreographers were showcased, displaying diverse dance idioms and exposing dance lineages from Balanchine to very contemporary influences. Interestingly, the three works were all abstract and explored movement styles around a theme rather than seeking to follow a narrative. This was very successful in bringing out the texture of the choreographic styles themselves.

Luanne Hyson's work Balancé is an homage to Balanchine's Serenade. Four ballerinas in ice blue romantic tutus light up the stage. Borrowing signature Balanchine vocabulary and capturing the mood of the original work, its execution also reflected a crisp modernity. Serenade illuminates the accumulated classical oeuvre and Hyson's work continues the spirit. The mood of the work changes in response to movements of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings Opus 48. The role of the male dancer, although facilitating the inclusion of traditional lifts and partnering, is less clear and his costume of black pants and t-shirt seems out of temper with the piece. Overall, Balancé revealed lovely calm presentation and crisp meticulously rehearsed technique.

Lunar Tide by Kathleen Skipp again revealed the female dancer, celebrating the subtlety and strength of contemporary technique. Flowing movements early on give way to twitchy staccato moves. There is strong and striking pair-work, featuring lifting that gives the work spatial breadth and attack along with very dynamic sections. The work succeeded in feeling elemental and was again well executed by the dancers.

To finish the program, Rain Francis' I cried Once When Snow Stopped Falling was an interesting and provocative work for eight dancers. The choice of music - Damon Smith's A prerequisite for a transient state - really allows for changes in choreographic mood to be explored in its musically contrasting sections. Dancers enter gradually, form various fleeting pairings, assume a series of tableaux. There is a sense of the dancers moving between being participants and spectators as they flow in and out of the action. The choreography features a strong gestural element that sometimes reminds of Pina Bauch. Costuming for the women is strong with variations on a colour theme. Yet, again, in view of the careful costuming of the female dancers, the males in the same black uniform feel like an afterthought, their garb squarely signalling that they are visitors in the female dominated domain.

In Dancebourne Arts we find yet another independent company creating opportunities for dancers to hone their craft and invite new audiences to enjoy local and accessible programs of high quality.


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