Her Majesty’s Theatre, Fri 1 May.
The New Zealand Dance Company’s maiden performance in South Australian has validated their reputation as an inspiring company with high-calibre dancers. Rotunda is an accessible major dance work, which combines dynamic contemporary dance, an evocative narrative, big brass music and creative technical elements.
In the Centenary Anniversary Year of the formation of the ANZAC’s, Rotunda tells the story of groups of boys flirting with girls and playfully bonding through childish war games that quickly grow up to become men travelling to WWI. It goes on to capture the horrific nature of the battles, together with the loss and grief of those who died or never emotionally returned home to their loved ones.
Adding an appropriate community touch to every performance as they travel around Australia, The New Zealand Dance Company performs with a local brass band on stage. Tonight in Adelaide, the 24-piece Kensington and Norwood Brass Band delightfully entered Her Majesty’s Theatre with the Invercargill March by Alex Lithgow. The band, led by conductor Marc Taddei, skilfully played the brass music, compiled by Don McGlashan, to match the dance seamlessly.
The set and lighting design require a significant mention due to the vibrant influence it has on this show. There were beautiful moments of a single white silk sheet hauntingly blowing around the stage, being lifted up by strategically positioned fans and the dancers moving around it, possibly a reminder to keep the memories of fallen soldiers alive. This contrasted with a chaotic battle scene with white banners being projected onto and shadows of dancers coming through from behind.
The choreography by Shona McCullagh was incredibly clever and vibrant and the eight dancers brought out the precise emotion though it. Some memorable moments included the anger and intensity in the dance resembling the Maori Haka and the emotive dance with the grieving soldier trying to bring his dead comrade back to life.
Overall, the choreography, dancers, technical elements and band deliver an intense memorable performance. Let’s hope that we see The New Zealand Dance Company back in Adelaide again soon.
Rotunda continues at Her Majesty’s Theatre until Sat 2 May.
Book at BASS on 131 241 or bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.