Legs on the Wall, Form Dance Projects & Vox – Sydney Philharmonic Choirs
Riverside Theatre – Sydney Festival
Director: Patrick Nolan
Composer: Stefan Gregory
Choreographer: Kathryn Puie
Photo credit: Prudence Upton
Premise: According to one survey on the things humans fear most, dancing in public is high on the list – above having a needle but not as high as singing in public. Despite this, social dances have been places where people have sought and found contact for centuries, puncturing their fear with the desire for something else.
Review: Riverside Theatre’s stripped bare, exposed skeletal space and partial immersive seating for this dance performance was an atmospheric winner. Very Katrin Brack-esque by designer Mel Page setting the tone even more so with tentacles of lights hanging from the fly, simple, effective and savvy. Large projections on bare concrete walls by video designer Mic Gruchy too added to the ever-growing layers of the angelic voices of the Vox-Sydney Philharmonic Choir, whom not only echoed throughout the corridors and tiered seated audience but too creating a luscious organically executed surround sound effect that encapsulated audience and performer as one.
Collaborations more often than not are a thing of beauty, the choice by Patrick Nolan to combine choir and dance companies a sensational choice. The vast cultural, age and social demographics this added to the work was both mirroring to the works concept and premise. Nolans’ use of the choir as apart of the choreography only represented and showcased not just dancers acting but real people being real and embracing their love for singing and giving them an opportunity to be immersed in a medium that I am sure a lot of community choirs do not find themselves in. This was interesting with a huge sensation of local community and talent.
The coming together of ‘Legs on the Wall’ and ‘Form Dance Projects’ brought a theatrics and possibilities that were gravity defying and electrifying to witness. ‘Legs on the Walls’ out-of-the-box concepts on breaking that relationship with the floor to explore beyond what gravity demands as a dancer really added wind into the sails of the performance. Kathryn Puie has managed to design organised chaos well using several dance styles from rockabilly, contemporary, the classic waltz and free-style with flare and affiliated rhythm, keeping the audience entranced through-out. Though attention to story-line and the heavenly match of the two dance bodies was a wonder, there were slight sensations of separation of the two during synchronised choreography which wasn’t always in time, technical capabilities varied from dancer to dancer with a few forgetting their core in their passion which made you wince for fear of injury. The sight of the sickle foot from many of the female dancers certainly was a jarring sight for any eye for the technique of dance. These elements did take away some of the strength and sharpness that could have been achieved with a finer tune to detail from dancers and choreographer.
In saying that, the passion, the sweat and the focus did not waver and out weighed any technical faults in performance, the inventive use of projection, music and choir in a space with grandeur hips were all elements that worked gloriously for director Patrick Nolan. Damien Cooper’s lightning design was the hero of the evening for me alongside Bree Van Reyk whose percussionist skills a welcomed element and talent. Kudos must go out to riggers Jon Blake and Lija Simpson whom had a performance all of their own making sure in the fly dancers were safe and sound at all times.
‘Puncture’ is an enjoyable exploration of human relationship, form and fears, full of colour, variety, spirit, vitality and talent. Suitable for absolutely everyone, if you’re lucky you might even get a gentle waltz with one of the dancers and become apart of the art in motion.