Monday, May 8, 2023

"IDENTITY" - Ausdance ACT's Australian Dance Week 2023 Finale


Bom funk Dance Studio performing at the National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery, Sunday May 7

Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

CDTribe performing "Today I Am".

Ending a busy week of dance performances and workshops as part of Australian Dance Week, Ausdance ACT staged a series of pop-up performances which drew a large crowd to the National Portrait Gallery. The works in the performances were a response to the NPG’s current Portrait 23 exhibition of new works from multi-award winning contemporary Australian artists and collectives, which is also entitled “Identity”.

The event was hosted by the director of Ausdance ACT; Dr. Cathy Adamek, and the theme proved appropriate given the opportunity it provided for the participating dance organisations and artists to display their individuality, with performances ranging through the whole gamut of dance styles.

A large, immaculately groomed team from Bom Funk Dance Studio, costumed in dazzling red, black, and gold sequins, got the program off to spectacular start with their spirited presentation incorporating Broadway, cabaret and jazz styles.

Dance Central performing at The National Portrait Gallery.

Another large troupe, this time from Dance Central, demonstrated its prowess in latin and jazz fusion, while its junior Hip Hop Crew, which followed, proved that it was no slouch when it came to busting a move.

Vaidehi Subramanyan performing at The National Portrait Gallery.

Graceful Bharatanatyam dancer, Vaidehi Subramanyan, offered a captivating solo which showcased her mastery of this complex dance style. Canberra Dance Theatre offered several varying items which began with a demonstration mass warm up led by Philip Piggin. CDT’s celebrated over 50’s dance group, GOLD, performed a new work, specially choreographed for them by James Batchelor, entitled “Leaning, Rippling, Breathing”.

GOLD performing "Leaning, Rippling, Breathing"

CDT’s display continued with “Today I Am”, a work choreographed by Gretel Burgess for, and performed by,  CDTribe, a group of nerurodiverse young people; following which a group of CDT’s adult dancers performed a new work “From, Amongst, Within”, choreographed for them by Josh Freedman.

Canberra Afro and Multicultural Art Academy, Passion and Purpose.

The temperature rose sharply when Canberra’s Afro and Multicultural Art Academy, Passion and Purpose, took the floor for its energetic display of afro hip hop, and stayed that way throughout “Multiformity”, a stunning work presented by The Training Ground, which featured a complex pas de deux performed by Larina Bagic and Joshua Walsh, and a fierce group section performed with impressive precision by The Training Ground ensemble which drew cheers from the audience.

The Training Ground performing "Multiformity"

The Happy Beat Dance Crew, a group of adults, either neurodiverse or living with intellectual disabilities, gave an up-beat presentation which combined solo dance with  partnering, before Gretel and Chloe Burgess brought the performances to a close with their  performance of “Birds” an excerpt from Gretel Burgess’s award-winning longer work, “A Stroke of Luck”. 


The Happy Beat Dance Crew


                                                          Images by Bill Stephens