Presented by QL2 Dance,
May 9 – 12 2012.
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
QL2 Dance is one of Canberra’s quiet achievers, regularly presenting high quality programs which never fail to fascinate. Their current program “Me Right Now”, currently being presented for an all-too- brief season at the Canberra Playhouse, is a compelling demonstration of why QL2 Dance has gained an international reputation as a leader in youth dance.
“Me Right Now” has a cast of 28 dancers whose ages range between 14 and 25, Most are from dance schools in the ACT and surrounding region, including, in this presentation, dancers from Cowra, Narooma and Byron Bay. All have auditioned for inclusion to train with professional choreographers during school holidays and other free time.
The results achieved are not only astonishing but also inspiring, because, despite obvious variance in their individual abilities, the focus within QL2 Dance is firmly on ensemble work and self-development rather than individual brilliance (although there is plenty of that on display in this show) and it is the obvious commitment of each individual dancer that is so compelling.
Devised by five choreographers and presented as a seamless one-act performance without interval “Me Right Now” sets out to examine what it is to be “young” from the point of view of those who are.
The first section, choreographed by Lina Limosani , commences strikingly with all the dancers onstage, arranged in a straight line reminiscent of the opening of “A Chorus Line”. Offstage voices intone lines from familiar fairy tales, and oft-heard advice to children. One by one the dancers appear to lose interest in what is being said and break away from the group.
We then notice a rope stretched across the stage which the dancers attempt to negotiate, while a continuous moving line punctuated with messages like “Give Way” and “One Way” is projected on the screen at the back of the stage. Clever use of intertwining bodies and shifting dynamics provide a fascinating suggestion of future questions and decisions to be faced as the dancers struggle and tug against each other.
Matt Cornell’s creation for the male dancers also commences dramatically with a group of dancers huddled in a tight group lit by a stark overhead spotlight. The choreography for this section is energetic and acrobatic, including a section where the boys break into duos to playfully spar and burn off excess energy.
Contrasting beautifully with this section is a gentle section created by Jade Dewi Tyas-Tunggal in which the girls, dressed in flowing tabards perform a series of graceful Bollywood style dances. Projected on the screen behind them are huge images of human eyes and mouths. The mouths open to reveal gambling dices, some of which find their way onstage, to be discovered by one of the dancers.
The final section, choreographed by Ruth Osborne and Adelina Larsson is filled with broad, exhilarating movement performed by all the dancers, who sweep on, off and around the stage before launching into a series of cleverly staged bows.
The costuming throughout, designed by Rose Montgomery, is simple, effective and appropriate and each section is danced to beautiful electronic soundscapes, composed by Adam Ventoura. Extraordinary large-screen projections by Bearcage Productions compliment the onstage action perfectly, while the lighting, sound and stage-management are impeccable.
Whether or not you are an admirer of contemporary dance, “Me Right Now” provides a deeply satisfying dance experience, beautifully executed and thoroughly recommended as an exciting example of what can be achieved by dedicated young people when given the right support and guidance.
If you have a young person in your household you could do worse than encourage them to take a look.