Monday, July 17, 2023

STARS IN 3D - Chamaeleon Collective.


Directed by Liz Lea – Created in collaboration with ASTRO 3D.

Ql2 Dance Studio – Gorman Art Centre, 15 & 16 July.

Performance on 15th July reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

In 2020, ACT Artist of the Year, Liz Lea, formed the Chamaeleon Collective in response to the perceived need for community dancers living with disability to channel their energies and talents into a professional parts development program at the leading edge of contemporary performance.

Although the Collective has participated in community events since its establishment “Stars in 3D”, presented as part of the Uncharted Territory Festival, represents the premiere season by the company for which its core dancers, Brydie Bulley, Anna Connelly, Neave Darmody, Rainbow Knight and Katie Senior, were joined by six professional dancers, Karin Adriansdatter, Patricia Hayes Cavanagh, Jareen Wee, Sarah Long, Emily Smith and Liz Lea.

Directed with considerable flair by Liz Lea, who collaborating with ASTRO 3D and Recovery VR in an imaginative combination of equal measures of science, technology and pizzazz, this inaugural program incorporated world first 3D simulations of the universe, with live performance by people of all abilities, to create a remarkably immersive program celebrating the Universe from chromosomes to mapping the galaxy.

Commencing with an image of a slowly revolving cube projected on to three walls of the QL2 studio, a lone dancer, Jareen Wee, was revealed performing a succession of graceful, intricate movements in response to the images before being joined by other members of the company. All beautifully groomed and costumed in sparkling black costumes suggesting stars, the dancers moved among the extraordinary images while surtitles and voiceovers provided information about the galaxy. The effect was both mesmerising and informative.

 Among a series of memorable sequences that followed, one stand-out involved Katie Senior and Liz Lea, performing unison movements in front of evocative video images of Katie Senior moving through a variety of country locations while musing on the many positives in her life.

Equally powerful was another in which each member of the Collective, now costumed in sparkling silver sequins, performed in front of stunning video portraits of themselves in an illuminating demonstration of their pride in the unique beauty with which they had been gifted by that extra chromosome.

The final remarkable sequence involved the entire company, holding hands and weaving in single file among projected images of the spiralling universe thus triumphantly cementing their claim to being Canberra’s first inclusive dance company.

                                                      Image by Olivia Wikner

         This review first published in the digital edition of  CITY NEWS on 16.07.2023.