Australian Dance Reviews

Questions of existence: Australian Dance Theatre’s ‘Supernature’

Australian Dance Theatre's 'Supernature'. Photo by Sam Roberts Photography.

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide.
12 March 2021.

The eery, shadowed stage filled with fog and imposing cocoon like sculptures overhead. We eagerly awaited the debut of Garry Stewart’s next masterpiece, Supernature, premiering at Adelaide Festival.

Australian Dance Theatre's 'Supernature'. Photo by Sam Roberts Photography.
Australian Dance Theatre’s ‘Supernature’. Photo by Sam Roberts Photography.

Similar motifs and movement patterns to the highly acclaimed The Beginning of NatureSupernature continued Stewart’s exploration into the dawn of time, the emergence of life and questions of existence. Stewart’s creativity knows no bounds. He once again conceived weird and wonderful creatures using a collection of dancers’ limbs, as well as elastics and even bones. We were taken on an intriguing and mesmerising adventure where bodies and textures were both explored to create a myriad of organisms, all acted out by the dancers with commitment and conviction.

Were we inside the fertile womb of mother nature? Were two dancers spinning and intertwining in their nakedness, combining to create an embryo, the beginning of life? So many questions and moments of wonder.

Australian Dance Theatre's 'Supernature'. Photo by Sam Roberts Photography.
Australian Dance Theatre’s ‘Supernature’. Photo by Sam Roberts Photography.

One must note the volume of nudity, including full frontal male nudity, which at times was detracting from the exciting effects of the many props and incredibly innovative set design.  

The dynamic dancers of Australian Dance Theatre once again demonstrated their athleticism and gritty authenticity, and the moments of unison were powerful and transporting. James Vu Anh Pham was once again a standout with his outer-worldy, yet primal movement, and an unforgettable scene involving cascading pink slime was hypnotic, playful and beautiful.

Although some scenes seemed to last a little too long, overall, Supernature contained many morsels of magic, oozing with unashamed creativity, expression and exploration. I was intrigued. There are several scenes I would like to experience again so I could delve more deeply into the ideas, concepts and/or intricate movement phrases. 

By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.

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