Sydney Opera House, Sydney.
26 May 2021.
Sky Blue Mythic is an exploration into the human future using contemporary dance’s familiar tropes of careful slow walking, eerie industrial ambient music, mundane movements and assaultive strobe lighting.
Sky Blue Mythic is a solo performance created and performed by emerging independent choreographer/dancer Angela Goh. This full-length piece fleshes out Goh’s original short piece that won the 2020 John Keir Choreographic award.
Billed as a creation “tilting the axis of perspective, it dives even deeper into the otherworldly terrain of dance as a presence unhinged from the body — where embodiment becomes a mode of interfacing with the unknown. Troubling the boundaries of what we know as dance and what we know as human, this bold new work calls for new ways to sense both.”
It is certainly an unnerving and haunting piece where Goh slowly walks across a bright starkly lit background. Each of her movements is precise, studied and incredibly mundane. She enters stage left in a pedestrian outfit of a midriff black top with faded blue jeans and a pair of perfectly ordinary runners. Holding a canned drink, she makes her way across the stage where she slowly falls to the ground, spilling her drink and then subsequently starts crawling on the ground with a collection of distorted yoga poses. This sequence is repeated, and looped to a distinctly numbing effect.
Sky Blue Mythic explores the alienated and dystopian world of avatars, banality and the destruction of authentic human feeling by mindless repetition. The performance is a series of meticulously selected everyday motions performed at a sleepwalking, trance-like tempo.
These movements, looped relentlessly, underscore how much of our life is driven by mundane, thoughtless habits. The only relief and variation to this dirgelike performance was the assistant who cleaned the spilled drink and provided the only purposeful, necessary action on stage.
A good proportion of the middle of the work is Goh’s performance on the floor, with plenty of crawling, tumbling and distorted yoga poses. The curious effect is akin to being forced to watch your yoga or Pilates instructor having a mental meltdown during class.
The starkly lit white stage gave this unrelenting performance a forensic quality where the dancer conducts a dissection of their avatar’s way of being. Corin Ileto’s eerie, brooding, futuristic sound scape gave Goh’s studied movements an uncanny, unnerving quality.
Unfortunately, the repetitive one speed and monotonous movement in the dance made it hard to maintain concentration or sustain interest for the full performance. The lack of thematic or dance variation undermined the work’s title of the exploratory possibilities of blue skies and the fecund creativity of underpinning most myth.
By Elizabeth Ashley of Dance Informa.