Recently landed: All that Glitters: highlights of 2014, Gracia's written response for Fjord Review
Before a new year is ushered in with fireworks and resolutions, there is just enough time to reflect on what has been, and prepare a list of dance highlights from 2014. The only trouble being, it quickly transpires, I am no good at list making. Some may rank higher, but all offered something; all enabled me to feel. My belief that you cannot see a work unfold without finding some gem to pocket was not tested this year, and so ‘if you look, you will find’ remains my unchallenged maxim.
Nestled up high on my list, the Australian Ballet’s performance of Wayne McGregor’s serpent slithering, electrified abstraction, Chroma (2006), and the foil-tipped sharpness of Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort (1991) paired with Sechs Tänze (1986) (presented in the company’s triple bill with Stephen Baynes’ 2014 work, Art to Sky in June). Part languid wave one moment and trumpeting hyperextension the next, I reveled in Chroma’s unfamiliar vocabulary and orchestrated conflict. And, as I knew I would, I lost myself to the theatrical and poetic dark undercurrents of the Mozart double act of Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze with its exploration of what it means to be human, exposed and vulnerable, even if wigged and dusted. On tenterhooks, wearing similar fine corseting and black crinoline, these are the works I wish to experience on repeat and feel prickle on my skin.
Recently landed: Ros Warby Returns, Gracia's written response for Fjord Review
"The spaces we inhabit can frame our experience. How we see, and relate to each other and the world, inspire what we imagine, create, build and destroy. Hierarchies exist, however small, and we navigate them daily. And the body seems to tell all." The body is an incredible vessel; a physical form capable of invoking meaning through a singular gesture, a tilt of the head, a leg extended, an arm hinged at the elbow like a tent; and shown in sequence, in a dance that prowls and covers every inch of the stage as if testing its confines, it is potent. And for the course of a December evening, the space we inhabited was the seemingly infinite darkness of the Sylvia Staehli theatre at Dancehouse. We had come to see Ros Warby perform, for two nights only, a work still in unsettled form, in the process of development, Court Dance (2014), and an adaptation and performance of No Time to Fly (2010).
This double bill proved to be my own long-overdue introduction to Ros Warby’s work experienced with my own eyes, and I lapped up the experience. Several days later, having seeped into my thoughts and made a roost there, I am conscious that I missed a terrific deal. Moreover, this is exciting, this iceberg tip. These two pieces, presented with a small interval of barely three minutes, time enough for a costume change (Warby) and a bewildered and amazed headshake (me), with its grace, curious language (both of the body and spoken), and cerebral titillation, tapped into my curiosity to know more. I sat entranced by the carnival of shapes that Warby could make that leapt from the tentative exploration of a limb's sturdiness to a magnificent fluid bend. If we understand the world and our place in it, though our body, aware that the very space it occupies informs our perception, I desire the lion's share of my lessons to be in such a classroom. For now, I take heart in Warby’s own words about her work Tower Suites (2012), from which Court Dance extends, that whilst this knowledge and "these events are embedded in our systems and psyches already, .... the work is not supposed to be weighed down with these references, but rather allows them to be there in the context of our day-to-day lives; and perhaps reminds us how we relate — to each other and the world we live in."