Tuesday, November 28, 2023


QL2 Dance

Gorman Arts Centre to 26 November


Reviewed by Samara Purnell 26 November



QL2 have presented this year’s “Hot to Trot”, where dancers in the Quantum Leap youth dance ensemble are given the opportunity to choreograph and direct a dance work of approximately eight minutes long, performed by their peers. 


As a prelude, a short film was screened, discussing QL2’s 20-year relationship and collaboration with the Bangkok Dance Academy. Contemporary dance was a relatively new concept in Thailand then and the collaborators were keen to use dance as a way to avoid youth drug addiction. 


Emma and James Batchelor both speak of their experiences during their time with QL2 and the positive outcomes of the programs. Both the Thai and Australian facilitators, teachers and students speak of the ongoing connections they have formed and the way dance is described, including as a “good friend”, is beautiful and unexpectedly emotional. The overarching legacy given to those who participate is “opportunity”, as described by many in the film. 


Jahna Lugnan’s “Hazy Misconceptions” was an exploration of media and “fake news”. The topic would not have been obvious without an introduction, but that didn’t detract from the performance. Her trio of dancers performed to melancholy music, distressed, trapped and tumultuous. The use of the space was admirable and the precision and timing of the dancers with each other was exceptional.


Two of the dances explored the theme of colour. 


“Coloration”(sic) by Julia Villaflor explored the colours blue, green, red and yellow and their manifestations and how colours both complement and contrast with each other. Coloured parkas were utilized to create fun sequences before the dancers “tried on” other colours to explore them, in a nice twist. Sign language was used to express parts of the dance and this light-hearted piece was performed expressively by Villaflor’s dancers.


 “Polarised Light” choreographed by Calypso Efkarpidis was a striking piece, performed in Asian-inspired costumes of black and red, and using detailed hand gestures. A static, pulsing soundtrack accompanied by impressive lighting design concluded with the dancers in the dark, adorned with fluorescent body paint, waving and morphing into the blackout.  


Purple ribbons, a stocking-covered face and the ominous presence of giant corporations loomed over the environment in “You Did This”, by Emily Smith. The insidious consequences of mining, emissions and mass production took over the landscape as horrifying statistics were read out. 


In “Parasitic Waves”, a sophisticated collaboration between Arshiya Abhishree and Maya Wille Bellchambers, the dancers wore satin pants in a soft blue-green. They confidently performed lifts and holds, with an ease of interaction between the group. The music changed from flowing and relaxing, to staccato as a mesh costume (calling to mind fishing nets) was used to demonstrate the invasion of “parasites”, disrupting the cohesion of the “waves”, to form a new dynamic.


Charlie Thomson, who danced brilliantly throughout the production closed the show with “Humanchine”, where his youthful approach and playfulness allowed his 14-year-old creativity to come to life. Using cartoon-style comedy in 90’s style costumes, the rise of technology, digitalisation and screen addiction took the form of a boy-band style routine, followed by a costume change into black and ending with a “digital hangover”.


“Hot to Trot” was a cohesive production across dance styles, music and lighting, with the group of 13 all presenting a polished and high quality dance performance. The choreographers have done an impressive job to create and direct their work and their dedication to each other’s work shows. Again, the word “opportunity” comes to mind: To be given this opportunity as young dancers and creators and for giving an audience the opportunity to be a part of it.  


Photos by O & J Wikner Photography