Friday, May 27, 2022


 QL2 Dance


Melanie Lane,

Cadi McCarthy, and

Synergy Styles (Stephen and Lila Gow)

The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre to 28 May.


Reviewed by Len Power 26 May 2022


The world is constantly changing and it’s hard to keep up with the demands it makes on us.  Work, relationships, environment, health - to name just a few - constantly surprise us and we all form our own unique views about it all.  QL2 Dance’s triple bill, ‘Terra Firma’, presents an exploration of the way we perceive this changing world from three perspectives.

The dancing ensemble is made up of 25 dancers aged 13 to 23.  The talent and skill of these dancers is breath-taking and in all three dances they have collaborated with their choreographers to produce the finished works.  The choreography in all three works is demanding but the dancers handle every challenge with discipline and accuracy while still allowing the love of dance to shine through in their performances.

The first work on the bill, ‘Metal Park’, was by Melanie Lane, a professional choreographer and performer based between Melbourne and Canberra.  Her work explored the relationship between body, objects and our built environment and how we have become a part of the material world we inhabit.

The work was notable for its overall visual beauty, the incisive changing patterns of the groups of dancers and the clever use of white poles to delineate spaces.  A middle section of lines of dancers moving with a common purpose was reminiscent of the down-trodden workers in Fritz Lang’s silent movie, ‘Metropolis’.  It was startlingly effective.

The second work, ‘Shifting Ground’, was by Cadi McCarthy, who has been actively engaged in dance as a professional dancer, choreographer, educator and director since 1996.  Her work looked at our emotional response to the changes that are happening in the world politically, environmentally and socially.

A moody work with a hint of threatening undercurrents, it was edgy and dark.  The use of lighting and music was especially effective in bringing out the meaning behind the work.  The sense of emotional loss at the conclusion of the work was achieved very well.

The final work, ‘Tides of Time’ was choreographed by Lilah Gow with Stephen Gow of Synergy Styles, who state that their focus is a holistic approach to movement and creating works.  Their use of film in this work, especially at the start was imaginative and highly effective.

The past, the present and the future and how we live and make decisions within this subconscious framework was the subject of their work.  There was a heightened sense of reality throughout this dreamlike, shadowy world which ultimately led to a sense of welcome optimism in spite of the difficulties we face.

Each of the works was given highly atmospheric lighting by Mark Dyson.  Composers, Adam Ventoura, Christopher Clark and Zackari Watt provided strongly dramatic music that reinforced the action onstage.

This was a fine evening of dance that displayed the superb talents of everyone involved.

Photos by Lorna Sim Photography

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at