Dunstan Playhouse, Fri Sep 19
How many adjectives does it take to describe the work of TAO Dance Theatre’s Founder and Creative Director Tao Ye?
Let’s start with ‘6’ – the Australian premiere of this dance work was: mesmerising, molten, organic, tribal, fluid and freakish. Like watching a giant human slinky slowly evolve beneath an even slower growing light source. Visually stunning, ‘6’ keeps its black-clad dancers in the dark for a seriously long time, with only a growing hint of light to illuminate the forms being created in front of the audience. Accompanied by sound that can only be described as a pulsing rhythm containing a hypnotic didgeridoo like quality, ‘6’ is indeed an experience that speaks to the senses.
The world premiere of ‘7’ began with a voiceover asking the audience to remain as quiet as possible since any noise they make will affect the performance. Cue dead silence as the stage is revealed and is the binary opposite of ‘6’ – a brightly lit stage of white-clad dancers (7 of them of course) moving in absolute synchronicity in complete silence. How do they do that without any cues?
The audience watched like rapt mutes as a rising soundscape eventually began to build, at first like an almost imperceptible wind whose cries escalated and formed an entrancing mantra of grunts and groans. Slowly you realise the sound is being created by the dancers themselves, giving voice to the undulating forms they are creating.
Magical, surreal , bizarre, extraordinary, astonishing, confusing, illuminating.
Tao Ye has formed works that will not be everybody’s cup of tea. Yet there is something exciting and powerful within these performances that demands respect. 6 and 7 is an absolute experience not to be missed.
by Rosie van Heerde
TAO Dance Theatre performs 6 and 7 at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, until Sat Sep 20.
Book at BASS on 131 241 or bass.net.au.
Title and first centre image courtesy of Andreas Nilsson
Second centre image courtesy of Marco Feklistoff