The National Theatre, Melbourne
August 19, 2013
By Rebecca Martin.
At last year’s Immersed, it was all about spaghetti. This year, it was all about pajamas. Specifically, three men in pajamas.
The glamorous National Theatre is the perfect venue for a gathering of Melbourne’s most talented dancers, choreographers and industry types. Musical Theatre royalty Esther Hannaford (King Kong, Hairspray) was the evening’s host and she fulfilled her duties with much grace, humour and warmth. She also graced the stage singing and dancing in the night’s opening number which was a show stopper. Proceedings kicked off with a Great Gatsby themed number choreographed by Paul Malek and Kim Adam and it didn’t take long before the audience was cheering and dancing in their seats.
Enter stage left, Parallel Youth Dance Company’s Man With A Hex. Choreographed by Amber Jean Orchard and performed by Jayden Wall, Dylan Speedy and Taylor Scanlan, this piece was the talking point of the night. The three dancers wore pajamas and thrilled the audience with a high energy piece that involved flips and tricks as well as clever and entertaining choreography.
Other highlights included Kim Adam’s closing number Silence, Michael Ralph’s feel-good Honky Cat, Rain & Lucky Dance Theatre’s award winning Whatever You Do Don’t Panic!, and You performed and choreographed by Lucy Doherty and Rob McLean. I could watch Lucy Doherty perform forever. Another standout performer and favourite of Dance Informa was Jayden Hicks. He featured in a number of pieces and each time he hit the stage he grabbed the spotlight and again showed why he is one of Melbourne’s most talented and versatile performers.
A percentage of money raised from the night’s ticket sales were donated to the Ian Knowles Fund so it was particularly poignant to see one of Ian’s pieces Cinderella’s Nightmare performed by his former students of The Space Dance and Arts Centre. Ian has sadly been diagnosed with an incurable stage 4 brain tumor and funds assist with the costs of his treatment and living expenses. It was wonderful to see the industry get behind Ian and acknowledge his contribution to dance in Australia.
Immersed is a shining example of everything that is great about the local dance scene. Varied performers and performances, an enthusiastic and supportive audience, great vibes, the opportunity to network, and of course a community spirit where everyone comes together to showcase their talent and appreciate the work of others.
Photo (top): Immersed Dance Industry Night opening number featuring Esther Hannaford. Photo by Jayde Justin BOOM Media.