As part of the Australian Ballet's 50th Anniversary Celebrations, Townsville's premier contemporary dance company Dance North will be taking its latest Raewyn Hill creation, "Fugue" to Melbourne next month. This 20-minute non-stop-dance-extravaganza is set to Maurice Ravel's infamous Bolero. Tonight, I was part of the lucky few home-town audience members to experience a preview of the piece. "Fugue" will also be performed tomorrow night - for those Townsvillians who have not yet had the chance to see this show - it is a must.
The last time I experienced a Dance North production - and it is an experience - was last year when the company performed "Mass". True to form, Dance North's dancers displayed their athleticism, steely strength and their unique sense of style. Tonight they incorporated imaginative lighting by Townsville's own Ben Shaw, with stellar Australian designer costumes created by Sass & Bide. Raewyn Hill's choreography again was both original and demonstrative of her dancer's skills and capacity.
I am always impressed by Raewyn's dancers - their strength, their fitness, their athleticism. I don't just see dancers on stage, I see strong people and this is incredibly appealing. The 20-minute piece is unforgiving and demands everything out of the dancers. They do not exit the stage once and they are all performing as a cohesive unit - as one, throughout the entire piece. There is no room for error and there is no room for any "weak links". The choreography and the fact that all the dancers act and perform as a pack compliments Ravel's Bolero. As the music becomes more and more intense so too does the energy of the dancers. It was truly exciting.
Aside from "Fugue" itself, audiences were treated to a rare insight into the inception, creation and development of a choreographic piece. Raewyn commenced the evening by giving the audience an insight into how the concept for "Fugue" was initially formed and how the piece developed from concept to stage. The dancers presented a visual representation of rehearsal - performing sections of the piece whilst verbally cuing each other in regards to their footwork, timing, energy levels and names. It was a very clever visual demonstration of what goes through a dancer's mind during the rehearsal process. Tonight delivered a healthy dose of education and escapism.
Wishing Raewyn, Bradley Chatfield, Dancers - Thomas Greenfield, Jeremy Poi, Jessie Oshodi, Alice Hinde, Anita Hunziker, Rebecca Bassett-Graham, Aaron Smeding and David Norsworthy all the best in their coming season in Melbourne! It is sure to be a treat.