Monday, April 27, 2015



House of Sand presents a new work by Eliza Sanders.

QL2 Theatre. Gorman House Arts Centre. April 24 and 25. 2015

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

Eliza Sanders in Pedal.Peddle Photo by Stephen A'Court
Occasionally an artist emerges who possess the thrill to surprise. Eliza Sanders is such an artist. I did not know what to suspect as I entered the QL2 Studio at Gorman House Arts Centre. Eliza had invited me to review her dance work, and although I stressed that I was not a dance reviewer, she insisted that she wanted a theatre reviewer’s perspective of a dance piece that she regarded as owing its inspiration to Theatre of the Absurd that would not be judged in conventional manner.
Eliza Sanders. Photo by Lorna Sim
From the moment she entered the space, carrying a suitcase and entangled within a colourful display of enveloping material, Sanders enticed instant curiosity. Contemporary dance is the outward expression of the internal passion and the audience is invited to engage in a private conversation with oneself. What unfolds is the mystery of meaning and we are left to define its message.

And so, Sanders seduced me into taking a journey with her from the surprising utterance of words as she crossed herself during an itemized reminder of the things required for her impending journey. “Tickets, passport, Tampon, charger” over and over again as her arms jolted and jerked in the sign of the Holy Spirit. Here is the embarkation on Life’s travels, the fears, the doubts, the rituals, the desperate, urgent pleas for acceptance (I can sleep anywhere. I can sleep on the floor, as she writhes in anxious supplication, and finally the unravelling of the baggage that leaves her half naked, exposed and daubed with smears of black paint that mark her for the vulnerable, the exposed and the isolated. And so I watch an artist, whose originality, creative ingenuity and physical command of space entices and mesmerizes. Here is not the aesthetic of dance or the tutored expression of bodily movement, and yet it is the signature of dance that gives expression to feeling. I feel for Sanders’ anxiety, her confusion and her rebellious divestment of Life’s trials and tribulations. As she pedals through Life’s challenges preparing for a journey, hanging out Life’s washing upon the line, unravelling the clothes that define her and besmirching herself in defiance, I am aware that here is an unique and compelling artist, unfettered by convention and forcefully defining her art and her experience.
Pedal.Peddle. Photo by Stehen A'Court

Of course, I may have interpreted my own experience inaccurately in terms of Sanders’ conscious intentions. After all, her 6 a.m. flight could be taking her on a very different journey. But that doesn’t matter. I am moved. I am involved. I am provoked to think and to feel and to wrap my own impressions about her art, as her body speaks the language of movement.
Eliza Sanders in Pedal.Peddle. Photo by Lorna Sim

It is all surprise. I did not expect the witty snatches of dialogue. I did not expect the purity and seduction of her song and the words of Edith Piaff or Laura Marling or Jordie Lane amongst others. I did not expect the sudden touches of comedy as she transformed into a chicken, or the drama of her being in the fluidity of her dance of disrobing.

I approached without expectation and I left with a deeper appreciation of the power of the dancer to persuade and surprise. Sanders defies expectation and excites with the originality of her dance. Her work requires the commitment of an audience to engage with the image, evoke the emotions and arouse the intellect. If this occurs, Sanders’ work will offer a new experience in the lexicon of dance. She emerges as a refreshing new talent in contemporary Australian dance.
Pedal.Peddle at QL2. Photo by Lorna Sim