Sunday, July 30, 2017


Choreographed by Claudia Alessi, Eliza Sanders, Jack Ziesing and Ruth Osborne
Composed by Adam Ventura - Audio Video by WildBear Entertainment
Lighting by Mark Dyson - Costumes by Cate Clelland
The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre, July 27 – 29, 2017 

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Taking inspiration from the epic poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”,  QL2 Dance have created a compelling new ensemble dance work rich in exquisite imagery and inspiring for the obvious passion and commitment of the young dancers to the central theme of the pollution of our oceans. 

If this sounds ponderous, don’t be put off, because “This Poisoned Sea”, which is   performed without interval over an absorbing 80 minutes, by an ensemble cast of 30 meticulously trained dancers, aged between 13 and 19, is a brilliant demonstration of how effective dance can be as a tool for addressing serious contemporary issues.

Opportunities to work with large ensembles came rarely to choreographers. Choreographers , Claudia Alessi, Eliza Sanders Jack Ziesing and Ruth Osborne have seized this opportunity to create a strong, cohesive work about sea pollution, by a blending their particular skills so successfully that it is difficult to separate their individual contributions.

Inventive floor-work at the beginning, where bodies roll around the stage, with arms flipping up here and there, create powerful images of thrashing surf. A memorable legato  passage involving dancers costumed in Cate Clelland’s  attractive rust-coloured uni-sex costumes, moving in trios, or rolling across the stage trailing rubbish, or, later, forming  dramatic groupings to conjure up images of ice-bergs, are just a few of the multitude of memorable moments which stay in the mind.

Impeccable production values represented by the stunning filmed sequences of coastlines, abstract growing plants, and water-soaked dancers,  Adam Ventura’s thrilling, evocative soundscape, which complement and clarify the message, and the obvious passion and commitment of the superbly rehearsed dancers, all mark  “This Poisoned Sea” as being among the best and most thought-provoking productions that QL2 have yet presented, and one which should not be missed by anyone with an interest in either contemporary dance or the problems facing our  environment. 

                                                   Photos by Lorna Sim

This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 28th July 2017