Friday, June 15, 2018

The Beginning of Nature

The Beginning of Nature, conceived by Garry Stewart.  Australian Dance Theatre National Tour, June – August 2018.  Canberra Theatre Centre, June 14-15, 2018.

Reviewed by Frank McKone
June 14

As a drama goes, birth – excitement – occasional chaos – sex – and death is a reasonable representation of nature as we know it.  As choreographed by Garry Stewart and the dancers of Australian Dance Theatre of Adelaide, South Australia, it’s astonishing that Life on Earth (for it seemed as big a canvas as David Attenborough might draw) could all take place in 80 minutes.

With the range of A to Zephyr’s music drawing us into each mood from the glory of unbridled action to the sadness of final stillness, I was satisfactorily exhausted by the end.

Having not had technical training in dance I would not dare to comment on the amazing athleticism required to perform this work.  How the dancers survive is a mystery to me, let alone how they remember such detail from tiny expressive movements to literally flying – and especially how they can do this suddenly in unison or deliberately out of sync to make images fleetingly appear out of nothing.

In any case, to give a detailed analysis of such a dynamic work would remind me of teenagers being required to produce ‘literary criticisms’ of poems.  They want just to experience the whole poem, not pull it to pieces like cutting up a frog in a science lab.  The Beginning of Nature is an 80 minute poem – just let it stand in its own right – and Enjoy!