Wednesday, December 19, 2018


"10 Point" - Choreographed by Xavier Breed 
Directed by Ruth Osborne for QL2 Dance.
Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre. 15th and 16th December.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens.

If there were no other reason to attend “On Course 2018” then the final thrilling work, “10 Point”, choreographed by New Zealand born Samoan, Xavier Breed, alone would have made for a memorable evening of dance. Breed is one of ten young choreographers from The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) The New Zealand School of Dance and the University of Auckland currently in Canberra to create and perform the ten works which made up this year’s “On Course” program.

Now in its twelfth year, “On Course”, the brainchild of QL2’s Artistic Director, Ruth Osborne, is an initiative which grew out of QL2’s “Hot to Trot” program as a way of bringing home QL2 Alumni during their full-time study to reconnect with local audiences, and provide those audiences with the opportunity to see where those young dance artists are heading.  Over the years the project has expanded and now welcomes students from across Australia and New Zealand.

Choreographers selected to participate are provided with access to dancers and studio  space for six three-hour sessions over two weeks in which to create an original eight-minute work for presentation for two  performances in front of paying audiences. Those audiences are invited to participate in forums immediately after the performances to comment on and discuss the works, so that the choreographers get immediate feed-back on their works.

Xavier Breed, currently in the final months of a Masters of Dance Studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, thrilled the audience with a stunning work incorporating an imaginative fusion of traditional Samoan and contemporary dance styles. Working to a driving soundtrack, Breed’s choreography included body slapping sounds, grunts, carefully detailed hand and arm movements and an exuberant movement repertoire which his seven dancers attacked with obvious relish and attention to detail to achieve a highly polished and exciting result.

Exciting as it was however, “10 Point” was not the only high point in a program remarkable for the variety of ideas and inspirations which made up the enthralling program. Ryan Stone, currently in his final year at WAAPA, contributed an intensely personal and stunningly executed solo entitled “Crystalline Echoes” which he performed in the light of a single naked light bulb, which he manipulated to create shadows and patterns on his bare torso.

"Crystalline Echoes" choreographed and performed by Ryan Stone 
Alexandra Dobson from VCA worked with six white costumed dancers to create a mesmerizing work entitled “Recurrence” which commenced with the dancers in a tight circle performing intricate hand movements, which expanded into partnered sections as the circle grew larger. Mia Tuco, who’s undertaking the acting course at VCA, dressed her five dancers in bright dressing gowns for the first part of her imaginative and romantic “Informal – Get Down”.

"Recurrence" choreographed by Alexandra Dobson 

Caspar Lischner, a former QL2 dancer currently studying at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington contributed a short film, “Storge Shoes”, likening comfortable shoes to best friends. He also collaborated, via Skype, with Amelia Vanzwel from VCA, on a delightfully quirky duet, entitled “The International Animal Language”, which they performed together.

"The International Animal Language" choreographed and performed by Caspar Lischner and Amelia Vanzwel

Gabriel Sinclair created “Under New Management”, a clever introspective work in which his three dancers mirror-imaged each other to Sinclair’s own original composition featuring a single persistent piano note. Self- examination was also the theme of Alison Tong’s light-hearted creation, “U R Being Controlled” in which three dancers in multi-coloured tunics depicted reactions to advertisements and spin to the music of Phillip Glass. Both Sinclair and Tong are studying at VCA.

"U R Being Controlled" choreographed by Alison Tong 

Marcel Cole, a classical ballet dancer now studying at the New Zealand School of Dance, contributed a light-hearted work, "The Ugly Duckling?",  for four dancers exploring notions of connection and inclusiveness. Similar ideas were also explored by Otto Kosok, who’s also studying at the New Zealand School of dance, in his arresting work for six dancers entitled, “Strange Tall Creatures”. 

"Strange Tall Creatures" choreographed by Otto Kosok 

Even though each work was supported by excellent lighting and audio visual design and efficient stage management, the responsibility for achieving the end result rested with the choreographers and their dancers, making the polished works even more impressive, especially since most of the choreographers chose to add to their experience by appearing in each other’s works alongside senior Quantum Leap ensemble members, several of whom are heading off to universities around Australia next year.

"The Ugly Duckling ?" choreographed by Marcel Cole 

" Under New Managerment" choreographed by Gabriel Sinclair 

"Informal - Get Down" choreographed by Mia Tuco

                                                         All photos by Lorna Sim

                This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 16.12.2018