Australian Dance Reviews

Brisbane Stages Contemporary Talent

Launch Pad
Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art
February 2012

By Belinda Adams.

It is intriguing that so many people rush to see the latest international or interstate shows when they arrive in Brisbane, but little do the theatre going public know of the talent that exists in our very own backyard.

In a small performance studio in the Judith Wright Centre, Expressions Dance Company performed Launch Pad 2012. Featuring the work of local choreographers and dancers in an intimate setting, Launch Pad was nothing short of exquisite. They were able to create an environment that rivaled any large scale production with some simple prop changes and clever use of lighting.

The dance itself was raw, complex and brilliantly executed. Each of the choreographers had a chance to speak with the audience and tell the story of where their choreography began and how the idea evolved. This created a very personal experience for the audience and gave us an insight into the choreographers’ processes.

Gareth Belling, a Queensland Ballet dancer and choreographer created two works for Launch Pad. The first was From Darkness, a duet performed by Riannon McLean and David Williams that blurred the distinction between victim and offender. Watching this piece the dancers had you experience what they were feeling as they drew you into their story with raw movement and ultimate belief in their characters. The second Say Something, a piece performed by QUT dance students, explored the dynamic of broad based acceptance at the expense of personal opinion. This piece was energetic and fast paced with very contrasting choreographic choices. Overall, Gareth succeeded in creating wonderfully eloquent work for such a young choreographer. He certainly has a bright future ahead.

Bloodlust, by Claire Marshall was inspired by the movie Single White Female to start and further explored toxic friendships. Samantha Mitchell and Michelle Barnett performed this piece with total commitment and conviction. Both are very talented dancers who bought this rigid, intense piece to life.

The final performance was Crush by Lisa Wilson, performed by Elise May and Jack Ziesing. This was a debut showing for Wilson with EDC and she certainly delivered an amazing creation. Crush, portrayed the dancers struggle with panic and its contrasting manifestations of restraint and immobility. With the skillful use of varied LED light sources, Elise and Jack presented this piece with maturity and one hundred percent commitment to their personas. Elise is a striking dancer with a clear talent and skill for this demanding art form. This was an edge of your seat piece that had you breathless from start to finish. I can’t wait to see Lisa Wilson’s current work in progress entitled Lake. She is a transpiring choreographer who has a gift for creating quality work with a unique essence.

Launch Pad 2012, represents the true core of dance and perfectly showcases the talent that exists in Brisbane. This performance embodies what dance truly is – raw, powerful and honest.

Photo: EDC’s Jack Ziesing and Riannon McLean. Photo by Fiona Cullen.
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