Tuesday, December 21, 2021



"Crawl" by Alyse Canton

Directed by Ruth Osborne for QL2 Dance

Gorman House Arts Centre 18th and 19th December.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Each year QL2 Dance provides young aspiring choreographers with the opportunity to test their talents by providing them with dancers, facilities and mentoring to produce a work for presentation before a paying audience in its annual “Hot to Trot” season.

In addition to coming up with their concept, the choreographers are also responsible for casting and rehearsing their dancers, organising costumes, props and rehearsal schedules.  

Mentored by Ruth Osborne and Steve Gow, ten young choreographers took up the challenge this year, and between them produced an ambitious program of eight staged works and one film. In addition most also danced in works choreographed by colleagues, adding value to their opportunity.

Magnus Meagher produced the short film which opened the program. Entitled “Naturally Urban” it followed three dancers, John Judd, Cassidy Thompson and Danny Riley as the danced their way through a montage of beautifully photographed Canberra locations to the accompaniment of Yomoti’s “Cats Walking”.  Perfectly timed editing and imaginative interaction between the dancers resulted in a thoroughly delightful short film.

"I, You, We" by Penny Amoore

Perspex magnifiers cleverly manipulated by five dancers, Alyse Canton, Akira Byrne, Sofie Nielsen, Mia Canton and Tara Creamer-Banks,  to explore concepts of identity were an arresting aspect of Penny Amoore ambitious work “I, You, We”.  Interesting music choices, clever well-executed floor work, particularly in the second section as the dancers shadowed each other, provided an engrossing and constantly interesting piece.

"Gold Beige People" by Hollie Knowles and Courtney Tha

Hollie Knowles and Courtney Tha combined choreographic and dancing talents for their work “Gold Beige People”. A witty critique of the world of fashion, they incorporated elements of tableau, voice-overs intoning fashion advice with detailed sound and lighting with their own excellent unison skills to produce a delightfully entertaining work.

Drawing on her training in circus arts, Genevieve Rohrlach worked with three dancers, Alyse Canton, Arshiya Abmishree & Gigi Rohrlach,  to produce a demanding, well-conceived exploration of control and manipulation, entitled “Inhuman Habits” which also incorporated impressive floor work.

"Webbed" by Sarah Long 

Sarah Long choreographed and performed a striking, introspective solo entitled “Webbed” for her exploration of human connection, which contrasted interestingly with Akira Byrne’s charmingly inventive “The Saturation” beautifully performed by Penny Amoore and Mia Canton to the music of Ezio Bosso.

"Preconceived Judgement" by Mia Canton

Mia Canton made interesting use of red masks, unsettling music and complex movement patterns for her piece, “Preconceived Judgement” in which four dancers. Arshiya Abmishree, Akira Byrne, Cassidy Thomson and Gigi Rohrlach,  explored ideas of how people judge each other.

Similarly, Alyse Canton also used four dancers, Sofie Nielsen, Penny Amoore, John Judd and Danny Riley, but a completely contrasting movement vocabulary to produce a dramatic work entitled “Crawl” investigating co-existence between underground insects and humans.

"All Era" by Daniel Riley

However the outstanding work of the evening was Danny Riley’s joyous “All  Era” in which Riley, together with Cassidy Thomson and Tara Creamer-Banks danced up a storm,  utilising a clever sound-track, several dance styles, including hip-hop, swing dance and even a nod to Gene Kelly, and well-executed costume changes,  to produce an exuberant, thoughtful, funny and nostalgic homage, which together with his other contributions during the evening,  marks him as a young dancer/choreographer on the cusp of an exciting dance career.

As with all Hot to Trot presentations, each work was supported by impressive lighting and stage management as well as opportunity for audience feedback following each performance.


                                                    All photos by Lorna Sim

       This review first published in the digital edition of  CITY NEWS on 20.12.21