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Co3’s new dance work ‘THE ZONE’ stages humanity in disaster

Co3. Photo by Stefan Gosatti
Co3. Photo by Stefan Gosatti.

West Australia’s state contemporary dance company Co3 is set to premiere a new work, THE ZONE, in September in Perth. THE ZONE is choreographed by Co3 Artistic Director Raewyn Hill and celebrates community and the resilience of the collective voice. With a set designed by renowned Japanese architect Satoshi Okada, and an original sound score played live by musician Eden Mullholland, THE ZONE is ambitiously cross-disciplinary.  

THE ZONE explores the heights of humanity in the darkest moments. Hill says she was inspired to create THE ZONE after experiencing natural disasters. “THE ZONE draws from the earthquakes that happened in Christchurch, which is where I grew up,” she says, “and from Cyclone Yasi, which swept through Townsville. We were right in the middle of it, and this sense of community and helping was very much alive, with race, religion and opinion falling away. It was about humanity.”

During a residency in Paris, Hill became intrigued by the surrealist art movement and found this aesthetic also influencing her work. “After being interested in surrealism, I was fascinated in creating walls, with energy happening in the middle, and the only way out is to climb up over the walls. The set also influences the choreography and creates an obstacle and a challenge for the dancers. Okada-san has designed an incredible set for us, which will be aided by lighting design by collaborator and Artistic Director of Ochre Contemporary Dance Company, Mark Howett, and a new score played live from Eden Mulholland.”

Composer Eden Mullholland is collaborating in the studio with the dancers and with Hill to develop the score. Mullholland says, “This will be the fourth or fifth project Raewyn and I have made, and I’m honoured to be a part of THE ZONE. Raewyn and I have ongoing conversations about her vision for the new work. She shares imagery, music, art, thoughts and underlying philosophies behind her inspiration for the work, and I soak up these ideas and try to discover my own angle of approach to writing. It’s a cool way to saturate the work in a sonic landscape from the get-go. Both Raewyn and I believe in this approach. Music is a powerful mood setter and a crucial element of her work.”

The design elements juxtapose the dance and “expose the extraordinary physicality of the Co3 dancers,” says Hill. “It is one of the most demanding pieces they will perform to date.”

Co3 will present THE ZONE at the Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA, from 7–16 September. For more information, visit www.co3.org.au.

By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.

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