Projection Dance Company: Forte

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Mara Galeazzi, Travis Knight and James Pett in Tim Podesta's 'Forte'. Photo: RON FUNG.
Mara Galeazzi, Travis Knight and James Pett in Tim Podesta's 'Forte'. Photo: RON FUNG.

The Edge, Federation Square
Melbourne, May 26.

Just last year, people were paying hundreds of dollars to see Mara Galeazzi perform with the Royal Ballet in Brisbane. Just last weekend, she was performing again, at much lower prices, as one half of M&T in Motion, which she has formed with Australian dancer Tim Podesta. Together they presented this one-off performance by Projection Dance. The group consisted of six dancers – Galeazzi, two Australians - Victoria Ballard and Kristy-Lee Denovan - and three guest dancers – Sebastian Vinet (Principal with Compania Nacional de Danza in Mexico) and James Pett and Travis Clausen-Knight (from Company Wayne McGregor in the UK). Quite a starry lineup!

The program was "Forte", "an exploration of strength" in its many forms, and encompassed five works. They shared a similar aesthetic: classically trained, highly articulate bodies; rippling torsos; talkative arms; upper bodies swooping and diving low while the legs unfold to impossible heights. 

The most classically virtuosic work of the night was a solo, La Porta dell'inconscio, choreographed by guest choreographer Simon Hoy (formerly the resident choreographer of Melbourne Ballet Company) and performed by Vinet. To music by Ezio Bosso, this impressive solo brought classical technique more to the fore than the other works, incorporating jumps and turns and beautiful classical lines. Another solo, Architecture of Loss, choreographed by Podesta for Galeazzi, was also impressively virtuosic, but in a different way - staccato yet fluid, her body propelled as if by electrical shocks as suggested in Valgeir Sigurdsson's music.

The duet Proximity was choreographed and performed by Pett and Clausen-Knight. To music by Federico Albanese, and dressed in black jackets and pants and white shirts, this was a lyrical exploration of the pair's connection to each other.

The main work on the program, Forte (Podesta), coming after interval, involved all six dancers, dressed in bright red pants. The composition is about groupings of bodies in space rather than patterns of steps, which unfold unpredictably and are seldom repeated. The style is casual and informal; the dancers stroll and walk in a naturalistic fashion rather than jump. They group and regroup, perform together or separately but never in unison. Sometimes they stand and watch while various emotional connections play out on the stage. The partnering is tangled and complex, and ranged from being a highlight to awkwardly complicated. 

The evening opened with Sextet Fall, to music by Carl Craig and Robert Hood, choreographed by Podesta on his Projection Dance Junior Artists from his school in Albury/Wodonga. Their accomplished performance showed these young students are in good hands.

Altogether this was a classy program combining excellent dancers with sophisticated contemporary classical choreography and composers. We don't see much home-grown contemporary classical choreography in Australia: congratulations to M&T in Motion for this welcome staging.

It is hoped that "Forte" will be staged in Sydney around July with an international tour to follow. 



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