• LINK dancers performing 'Skinless'. Photo: Jon Green.
    LINK dancers performing 'Skinless'. Photo: Jon Green.

LINK Dance Company: TWIN SHARE

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Geoff Gibbs Theatre, 24 May

LINK Dance Company is the graduate dance company of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). "Twin Share" brings local and visiting international dancers, choreographers and musicians together, sharing their artistry in new works, Skinless, by Madrid-based choreographer Carmelo Segura, Ad Infinitum, by choreographers Sue Peacock (WAAPA's acting head of dance) and Michael Whaites (LINK artistic director), and also one of Segura's recent works, Osaka.

Opening the evening was Segura's Skinless set to Sean Bernard's absorbing, percussive, soundscape. It explores the notion that our skin provides "protection and vulnerability" in a literal and metaphoric sense. A modish woman in black removes her outer clothing and shoes, uncovering her "inner layer". Unencumbered, she sways and stretches, before receding into darkness. Figures (eleven dancers) with torches are revealed beaming eerie patterns on their bodies and the stage, using torchlight to create dancing constellations. Shifting formations evolve as bodies converge in waves then separately, incorporating distinctive, articulated port de bras and sustaining the persistent rhythm in rolls, lifts, and falls, their long hair flying. Strikingly side-lit with dancers in light, loose pants that soften their movement, the effect was entrancing. The woman in black returns; was it a manifestation of her shedding her inhibitions?

Luis Largo and David Vilarino in 'Osaka'. Photo: Jon Green.
Luis Largo and David Vilarino in 'Osaka'. Photo: Jon Green.

Next came two of Segura's company dancers, Luis Largo and David Vilarino, in Osaka. This longish work is inspired by a Japanese legend of a red thread, "a ‘scarlet string’ that connects us to our irrevocable destiny," and is set to a recorded electronic score (Martin Gehrsa). Against the black-brick wall of the open stage, red light dominates, and later wide red and white strip lights cross each other on the floor. Throughout, lighting effects by Israel Ag enhance this work. Largo and Vilarino are clad kimono-style in grey, with red-toned lining visible in movement. Mime, hand gestures and kowtowing reflect traditional ceremony. Both dancers impressed with extreme strength and balance in choreography demanding focus, sustained positions and challenging partnering.

Ad Infinitum followed after interval. It is set to late Dutch minimalist composer Simeon Ten Holt’s Canto Ostinato, which was brilliantly played live on two grand pianos by visiting Italian conductor Ciro Barbato, and WAAPA répétiteur Gennaro Di Donna. The casually dressed dancers begin downstage, each turning and nodding conductor-style to the pianists seated at their pianos. It is an inspired and witty opening to this work, which went from strength to strength, the individuality of the 12 dancers eye-catching whether dancing alone, in duos, small groups or together. Their nonchalant responses to the rhythm and momentum of the music was organic yet dynamic.

Playful little steps traverse the space, free and unconstrained, a quality sustained while dancing in unison. Lit from above and the side, shadows form as the dancers are swept along, in perpetual motion, by the music. To quote Balanchine, "dance is movement made visible" and Ad Infinitum beautifully embodies this.

Plaudits to LINK dancers: Sasha Brampton, Aaron Carey-Burrows, Lauren Catellani, Emma Fishwick (guest), Caitlin Gilchrist, Sarah Hawkins, Mani-Mae Gomes, Karen Haruta, Kishore Krishan, Cassady-Rose Mann, Lauren Sherlock, and Sarah Sim Min Yi for their outstanding performances.

Margaret Mercer

LINK dancers in 'Ad Infinitum'. Photo: Jon Green.
LINK dancers in 'Ad Infinitum'. Photo: Jon Green.
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