Australian Dance Reviews

The Earth, the Sea and the Moon – Ignite the Dark

Gasworks Theatre, Albert Park, Vic
August 12

By Grace Edwards

Ignite The Dark’s latest work, The Earth, the Sea and the Moon is a story about a neurotic artist named Moon and his ever-growing obsession with the girl of his dreams, the waitress who works in the café beneath him. Falling further into a world of fantasy and neurosis, Moon creates an alter ego intent on foiling his every move.

The choreography showcased a range of dance styles including jazz, tap, ballroom and ballet, each of which was used to highlight aspects of the storyline. A ‘tango pasión’ introduced the sexually-charged character of the alter-ego, a creation of Moon’s imagination, whilst a ballet scene sought to highlight his romantic chemistry with Moon’s love interest.

The structured format of the show was clear and the storyline consequently easy to follow. The choreography and the dancing was at its best in the jazz-inspired commercial dance numbers, particularly the unison ensemble sections in which the dancers appeared well rehearsed and in sync. However, many elements were surprisingly derivative for a company that describes itself as “innovative”. There was little evidence of experimentation in the choreography, and many of the movement sequences and steps seemed so familiar as to result in dance sequences that were rather extreme clichés of their genres. There were also one or two conspicuous moments in which the use of moving props threatened the safety of the performers and needed to be more closely choreographed.

The piece is structured in a series of chapters, connected by dialogue, video, text and storyline. There were moments in which the video was used well to articulate the inner world of our hero, but the dialogue sections were somewhat jarring, at times giving the impression of a school play. This impression was not helped by the lack of attention to details in the setting, such as the untidy handwritten paper sign used to denote the ‘Pie in the Sky’ café at which our waitress/heroine worked.

The dancers struggled technically through a number of passages, and this was most obvious in unfamiliar genres such as ballet. The choreography demanded of the female performers a number of passages en pointe and the dancers appeared worryingly unstable. Attention needs to be paid to the finer details and to the feet and leg extensions in jumps and lifts.

This company has some way to go if it intends to rival other professional companies working in Melbourne. However, the broad appeal and youth of the company should ensure enthusiastic support and a wide pool of creative talent from which to draw in its attempts to make its mark on the dance scene.

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