Bower Gallery, Ripponlea
April 11, 2013
By Rebecca Martin.
From Hong Kong via California comes Melbourne’s next choreographer to watch, Jonathon Homsey. A VCA graduate with a masters degree in Arts Management, Jonathon is a dancer and choreographer that knows what he’s doing.
And what he is doing is something brilliant and unlike anything else going around the local stages. For starters, Together as One is billed as an “analog performance”, with recyclable programme cards, minimal lighting to conserve energy and a performance in a space that makes the work feel more like an installation or an experience than a show.
Set inside the tiny space of the Bower Gallery, there was room for only 15 audience members per show with the chairs lined up on either side of the long room. When I arrived, it felt as though I was being seated in the front row of a fashion parade. With such limited space, I feared that the choreography would be limited and the dancers would be restricted.
Boy was I wrong.
Homsey transformed the space into a 1970s share-house living room and then a nightclub dance floor without really using a single prop. Set in 1975, the piece contained three acts which explored the frames of mind of Australian youth during the Constitutional Crisis. Featuring some fantastic local talent – Jack May, Robert McLean Briana Cohen, Briarna Longville, Ashleigh Kiven, Lauren Drago and Kino McHugh – Together as One incorporated dance, live music and singing and examined the youthful thoughts of inhibition and freedom in a time of constant political and cultural change.
Robert McLean performed a brilliant topless solo that had him writhing outside against the gallery window as the audience looked on from inside with awe, Jack May commanded the space with his high energy and incredible technique, while the girls were buoyant in their youthfulness and seductive in their portrayal of 1970s hippies.
During every moment of the show, I felt that I was living the journey with the dancers. Homsey had the dancers fill every part of the gallery with his unique and captivating choreography. What an absolute breath of fresh air Together as One was. This is true art but not in an untouchable highbrow sense. Together as One is a piece that wholly immersed the audience and drew us back to 1975. It inspired us to go out and sing about peace and love, it inspired us to dream of revolutions and it inspired us to dance.
Photo: Dancer Robert McLean. Photo by PW Photography.