Monday, March 7, 2022

"GODDESS" - directed by Liz Lea for BOLD22

Liz Lea in "Homage to Elizabeth"

The National Portrait Gallery – Friday 4th March 2022.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Designed to showcase some of the infinite variety of dance styles embraced by female performers, “Goddess” was one of several dance performances presented this week as part of the annual BOLD 22 Festival of dance.

The program of short works commenced in the forecourt of the National Portrait Gallery with a work entitled “August” performed in the Hilal contemporary style focussing on locomotive movement and nuance. Moving gracefully in unison in flowing green costumes in the bright sunlight to the haunting music of Ludovico Einaudi, the three dancers provided a gentle entre to the program.

This was followed three short solos under the umbrella title of “In Situ”, first seen at the 2021 Sydney Festival, and performed by Matina McAneney, Bedelia Lowrencev and Beryl La, all members of Dance Makers Collective youth company, Future Makers, which provided a powerful demonstration of how effective dance can be as a tool for exploring complex experiences.

Following “In Situ” the audience moved indoors into Gordon Darling Hall where Liz Lea clad in acres of white silk performed a spectacular tribute to the BOLD patron, Elizabeth Cameron Dalman.

Agal Dance Company performing "Tillana"

Four superbly costumed Bharatanatyam dancers from the Agal Dance Company, Nikki Sekar, Vishni Ravindran, Shobana Suresh and Shaini Shiva, performed a complex and captivating work entitled “Tillana” to the live cello accompaniment of Dr. John Napier, and an unnamed percussionist and singer.

Anca Frankenhauser performing "Angels, My Angels, My Glorious Angels"

Striking contemporary dance explorer, Anca Frankenhauser performed the first of three items in which she featured, a solo, “Angels, My angels, My Glorious Angels”, to the guitar accompaniment of busker, Tom Ward; another solo, “Homage to Bob” (With me Still) a tribute a friend, Bob Cohan, who died in January, and a duo with former International ballet dancer, Emma Sandall, devised by Sandall, entitled “Cledonism” to the music of Ben Folds and Alice Major.

Former lead dancer with Bangarra Dance Theatre, and Helpmann Award winner, Yolanda Lowatta, performed a revealing, self-devised solo entitled “As I Am” which she described as “a mix of all that has shaped me”.  Also revealing was Debora di Centa’s solo, “Ishtar”, a re-imagining of a solo by Rudolf Laban, in which she entered in a striking black and gold costume, which piece by piece, she stripped away in an act of purification.

"Somebody's Aunt" performing "She did it HER WAY"

Gender fluid artist, Charlie Wan offered an intriguing solo entitled “Glass Ceilings” exploring the relationship between art and artists. Multi-talented Tammi Gissell performed “ngangkurlkiin” a self-exploratory solo reflecting one woman’s journey across the landscape of her life,  and the dance ensemble, Somebody’s  Aunt, performed a light-hearted work entitled “She did it HER WAY”, devised by Julie-Anne Long, challenging ideas on the visibility and invisibility of women’s work.

Chameleon take a bow after performing "Golden Ratio"

The final item on the program was a debut work by Canberra’s  first inclusive dance company, Chamaeleon, entitled “Golden  Ratio” , devised by Liz Lea and performed by Brydie Bulley, Anna Connelly, Katie Senior, Emily Knight, Neave Darmody, Lataesha Marsden, Tara Nguyen, Karin Adriansdatter and Liz Lea.


        This review published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 05.03.22