Choreographer (Auto Cannibal): Stephanie Lake
Choreographer (Encircling Voyage): Ma Bo
The Q Theatre, Queanbeyan 7-8 November
Reviewed by Len Power 8 November 2019
With the cultural fusion of two dance companies from different countries and cultures, ‘Matrix’ was an appropriate title for this absorbing evening of dance.
The two works presented were the result of a five week collaboration between Australia’s Expressions Dance Company and China’s BeijingDance/LDTX company.
BeijingDance/LDTX is China’s first officially registered private professional modern dance company co-founded by Willy Tsao and Li Han-Zhong. LDTX is a Chinese acronym that translates as ‘thunder rumbles under the universe’ - a rather fine description of the company. The dancers come from cities across China. They have performed in more than 20 countries around the world.
Under the leadership of artistic director, Amy Hollingsworth, Expressions Dance Company is based in Queensland. As seen earlier this year in Queanbeyan in their excellent production, ‘The Dinner Party’, the company is not afraid to push boundaries, giving us exciting dance in highly theatrical works of great depth.
The first work presented was ‘Auto Cannibal’, choreographed by the multi-award winning Stephanie Lake. Using six ensemble dancers of Expressions Dance Company and 14 dancers of LDTX, the work is described as ‘an ode to re-using, re-purposing, re-invigorating’. Previous works have been cannibalised to create this new work that stands on its own but is influenced and haunted by the past.
Although intensely busy, the work creates a dream-like experience. It flows with an often surreal logic that is constantly changing, producing and then dissolving patterns like a kaleidoscope. The electronic soundscape by Robin Fox and the sharp lighting by Joy Chen give the work a highly charged atmosphere. The dancers performed the intricate choreography extremely well. The second half of the work with constantly changing pairs of dancers was especially memorable.
The second work, ‘Encircling Voyage’ was choreographed by the highly-acclaimed Chinese choreographer, MA Bo. It was a work filled with human emotion and a sense of a voyage through all of life’s complexities – experience, knowledge, happiness and sadness. It was very cleverly staged with the use of highly polished benches to create theatrical situations and locations. The melodic music by David Darling, with string instruments dominating, gave the work strongly emotional warmth. The dancers performed it with real feeling and great accuracy. The final sequence was unexpectedly moving and visually striking.
This was a superb evening of dance that richly deserved the strong applause from the audience at the end of the show.
Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.