Tuesday, November 24, 2020


"Circle: Complete" - Sarah Long 

Directed by Ruth Osborne – Lighting designed by Guy Harding

QL2 Theatre, Gorman  Arts Centre – November 21st.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

QL2 Dance’s “Hot to Trot” program is an annual presentation which gives young aspiring choreographers who have been through the QL2 Dance process an opportunity to stretch their wings. This year, despite additional challenges provided by Covid-19 restrictions, eleven young artists took up the opportunity, resulting in an interesting program of ten works, two of which were outstanding.

Filmed dance has really come to the fore during Covid-19 as young dancers quickly adapt to the opportunities offered by streaming technology. Two interesting examples began the program.

For her film “Flowering”, Natsuko Yonezawa gathered images of young dancers engrossed in rehearsal for QL2’s recent “Leap into Chaos” production. Using a circular frame she transformed these images into a continuous kaleidoscopic sequence in which the dancers merged into each other to suggest flowers growing and blooming. It was a lovely idea superbly executed.

More conventional but no less successful was Magnus Meagher’s film “Stairs”. Filmed in various locations around Canberra, this light-hearted film followed three young men as they experimented with interesting and athletic ways of negotiating familiar stairways.

Perhaps it was a mindset brought on by lockdown, but several of the works featured strong driving music and mechanical movements. Among these were “Programmed Pulse” created by Alyse and Mia Canton in which Alyse and Mia were joined by Cassidy Thomson and Sofie Nielson to interpret the feeling of being stuck in constant repetition each day.

Pippi Keogh tackled a similar theme with four dancers for her work “(re)Strict” which explored ideas of freedom and control, while Rory Warne, working with three dancers, explored notions of the systematic workings of daily life with his work “Face On”.

"I knew you'd come back to me" - Hollie Knowles 

Hollie Knowles drew her inspiration from the songs of Taylor Swift to create an interesting but not-always-obvious love triangle, performed by Alyse Canton, Hollie Knowles and Sarah Long with her work “I knew You’d Come Back To Me”.   Courtney Tha impressed with her clever, cheeky solo “Faking it till you Make it” which had a surprisingly sinister climax.

Sarah Long’s ambitious work “Circle: Complete” energetically performed by Danny Riley, Hollie Knowles, Mia Canton and Rory Warne, employing perhaps more calisthenics than dance, attempted a complicated exploration of the Hero’s Journey by four individuals. While it was difficult to discern from the movement whether or not they were successful, it was certainly spectacular and entertaining.

Describe The Shape of T at The Beginning of The" - Lillian Cook

Lillian Cooks’ “Describe the Shape of T at The Beginning of The” was one of two outstanding creations in this program for which Alyse Canton, Caitlin Bissett, Mia Canton and Sarah Long, costumed in pink petticoats, responded to live voice overs among an imaginatively-lit arrangement of ropes, chairs and cubes, created an arresting dream-like, visually interesting and psychologically involving dance- work.

"Similar. Same but Different" - Danny Riley 

The other was Danny Riley’s solo “Similar. Same but Different”, a touching homage to his dancer brother Jack.  For this solo, Riley recreated a work that his brother had created some years ago around a big red chair.

Performing in front of a film of his brother dancing that work, using the same red chair and white tuxedo, Riley mirrored his brother, breaking out every so often to express his own individuality.  It was a touching idea, superbly conceived and executed.


                                           Images by Lorna Sim


          This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 23.11.20