November 30 2011
By Paul Ransom.
It is often the case that shows which bring together the work of multiple choreographers can seem ‘bitsy’. Nothing could be further from the truth with Outside In.
WA’s Link Dance Company has taken motifs from tribalism, pop culture, sport, classical ballet and European contemporary to create a spellbinding evening of emotive, sexy and sometimes downright funny dance.
Built around a small but tightly drilled ensemble, and powered by very well-tailored scores, Outside In is a triptych of vaguely related pieces. In spite of their obvious differences, all three hang together beautifully; seeming at times to be chapters from the same story. This is no mean feat and it helps to keep the audience focused and moving through the journey.
It all starts with Paul Selwyn Norton’s brilliantly playful Moon/Hammer Cycle, a piece that glues together tribal athleticism, high culture, grace and … wait for it … balloons. Norton’s ingenuity shines through, both conceptually and physically. The massed voice routine (complete with football crowd chanting) is hilariously effective and the various balloon dances are eerily powerful.
The mood intensifies with Frances Rings’ Hybrid. With its architectural strictness, austere lighting and almost malevolent sexuality, this piece broods and simmers as Nymanesque strings pound out the counts. The stunning and wonderfully minimal duet at the heart of this piece is everything you want dance to be; a universal language written in the flow of pure form – and totally moving to boot.
Meanwhile, I Said Ha Ha dips back into childhood as choreographer Ross McCormack explores both the delightful and destructive sides of naughtiness. With its exaggerated and stylised mimes, giant teddy bears and Velvet Underground tunes, Ha Ha is as psychotic as it is innocent.
Taken together this trio showcases the creative joie de vivre of the company and allows the dancers to exercise their power and grace to maximum effect. With moments of introspective darkness, smokin’ sexuality and muscular playfulness, Outside In fits a whole world of dance under its very cool umbrella. Superbly conceived and executed this is one of the most inspiring nights of modern Australian dance this reviewer has seen in quite a while.