Monday, April 11, 2022


Choreographed by Alison Plevey with Craig Bary.

Performed by: Ashlee Bye, Ryan Douglas Stone, Yolanda Lowatta, Craig Bary, Mikayla Nangle, and Alex Abbot.

National Portrait Gallery 9th and 10th April.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

“Connecting Stories : Innovations” provides a tantalising glimpse into a larger work being prepared for presentation in June  as part of collaboration between professional dance companies, Australian Dance Party and Catapult Dance and youth dance companies, QL2 Dance, The Flipside Project and young QL2 dancers.

The companies are joining together across borders (Canberra and Newcastle) to create two connected works in response to “Shakespeare to Winehouse”, the National Portrait Gallery’s current exhibition of icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London.

“Connecting Stories: Innovations” is the first of these works. The second larger work “Connecting Stories: Generations “will be presented in the National Portrait Gallery in June.

An ensemble work for six dancers, three from each of the professional companies, “Connecting Stories: Innovations” was choreographed by the Artistic Director of Australian Dance Party, Alison Plevey with Catapult Dance’s Craig Bary. Bary also danced in the piece which was performed to an evocative original composition by Adam Ventura.

Costumed in a variety of clothes reminiscent of various periods represented in the exhibition the dancers perform a series of individual free-flowing lyrical moves ending each with a moment of unison stillness as if reverting to a pose for a portrait.  As the work progressed elements of the costumes were discarded until all six dancers were wearing identical grey boiler suit-suit type apparel transforming into amorphous anonymity.

Quite short, approximately 10 minutes in duration, “Connecting Stories: Innovations” was beautifully danced by the ensemble and rewarded with enthusiastic applause at the performance attended by this writer. It was one of eight such performances given over the weekend, and not only whetted the appetite to immediately  visit the exhibition  to confirm the abstract impressions so vividly captured by the work, but to experience how this work will develop in its final iteration in June.  

                                                       Images by LORNA SIM