PLAYFUL AND WONDERFULLY ABUNDANT
Theatreview review by Brenda Rae Kidd, 24 Aug 2015
Playhouse Theatre, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Hamilton
19 Aug 2015
Touch Compass is New Zealand's only professional, inclusive dance company working with able-bodied and non-able bodied dancers redefining dance and preconceptions as to what dance is.
Acquisitions comprises of two works with several short films as an interlude. The films are whimsical yet reflective, the highlight been dancer Duncan Armstrong playing a frustrated punk rocker who finds a way to carry on the music whilst his very instrument is taken away from him.
The first work ‘Undertide' by US based choreographers Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad is a mixed media effort incorporating dance very successfully with film. Backed by a minimalist yet haunting musical score by composer Claire Cowan, ‘Undertide' is a modern urban work exploring how we adapt to our environment, specifically crowding, whether it be physical or spiritual. The dancers writhe and contort as bodies morph from position to position in a fight for space – to breathe. It is an intriguing work, as a shaking pulsing green light emanates from a dancers third chakra, one is left to ponder the significance. Located around the navel in the area of the solar plexus, the third chakra is a source of personal power and governs self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation. I may be off track completely but this work does allow one to interpret as one sees.
I particularly like the use of the box throughout Acquisitions, as a metaphor for space, or limit of, and the way the dancers break free from the confines of the box using it as a springboard for movement and release. To me, the box is symbolic of shackles and conforming. The dancers entice us to look outside the square. The lighting is worthy of mention, subtle yet present..
‘Watching Windows' is a lighter more accessible work choreographed by Catherine Chappell, Liz Kirk and Adrian Smith with collaboration from the dancers themselves specifically the graciously statuesque Georgie Goater. Remaining with the theme of box versus expansion, the dancers vault, and stretch in and around boxy and straight shapes. I really enjoy this work, there is a feeling of freedom and joy whereby ‘Undertide' feels ever so claustrophobic. One delightful moment is the playing of little music boxes that harmonise with a piano tune. Playful and wonderfully abundant.