Brighton Performing Arts Centre, Sat 5 Mar
Nine young ladies dressed in identical black unitards line up facing the audience and, one by one, begin to dance, reaching, kicking and communicating in motion to a percussive soundtrack. A tenth dancer enters, the others exit, and a solo begins. More dancers enter, and pause to stare down the audience. In all, thirteen female performers move flawlessly in the stark, dimly lit space through thirteen distinct yet continuous vignettes for the half-hour of the performance’s first act.
Lift Dance Theatre is Brighton Secondary School’s contemporary dance company, which has been producing and presenting new works each year for the Adelaide Fringe since 2008. Producer/Director Alan Todd and Choreographer/Assistant Director Phoebe Fisher encourage their student dancers to participate in the creative process, and the end result is nothing less than remarkable.
This year’s Carapace concept is an exploration of various forms of self-protection, with the company interpreting the title alternately as a skin, an outer shell, a case, or a group of people. The piece is largely inspired by Israeli composer Ran Bagno, whose music comprises most of the soundtrack.
Accordingly, the concept informs the choreography: the dancers group tightly together, forming a single core, pulsing and undulating. Three wooden crates are rolled out parallel to the audience, but arranged diagonally across the stage, and for each, one dancer holds the box and kneels motionless while another moves in and out of the wooden space. The second act includes a skirt dance, and even a spoken story.
The dancers are framed in thoughtfully executed light and darkness, with the lighting of the otherwise bare performance space playing a key role in the production. The audience responds enthusiastically at the close of both acts, and one can’t help but marvel at the quality and ambition of the secondary school production.
Carapace continues at Brighton Performing Arts Centre from 1pm until Sun 6 Mar.
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