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Sketch and Between Two & Zero at Riverside Theatre

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by Jody Kimber (subscribe)
Freelance writing. Out of the urban clutter of the East and now situated on the Pittwater.
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Sketch and Beyond Two and Zero. Flatline Dance and Art Project, Form Dance Project: Sketch and Between 2 and 0.
Sketch full of colour. Artwork Todd Fuller. (Image: Flatline.)

Three performances. four performers, one artist, one composer and a lighting person make the evening. Safe Hands, Between Two & Zero and Sketch make an evening of contemporary dance. Each performance has a different story and a different dialogue of performance. The creators and performers are all superbly educated and highly skilled practitioners of their respective artforms.

Miranda Wheen is a petite perfectionist in movement. Her performance moves through gender in Safe Hands. The perfection of her movement and timing is encapsulated and reflective of her career to date.

The stage then moves into a dance of "a negotiation of intimacy". In Between Two & Zero, Miranda Wheen is joined by Matt Cornell, to perform an exploration of intimacy. The movement of each individually, movement sometimes around and then together. A physical discourse in gender; the masculine, the feminine and sometimes androgyny. The music is present; at times strongly working with the dance. At others intertwined with the dance. I sat in a rapturous state of mind endeavouring to fully comprehend the physical movements, the dance structure, the context of the piece and what seemed to be the interrelationship of balance between the artists.

Between Two & Zero. Miranda Wheen and Matt Cornell.
Beyond Two and Zero with Miranda Wheen and Matt Cornell.

Intermission and scene change.

Sketches is the work of Carl Sciberras -Co Director Choreograher and performer with Todd Fuller - Visual Artist, Mitchell Mollison -Composer, and Rosslyn Wythes and Katine Olsen - both dancers.

Gone are the party lights. In their place is nothing. The back wall is set like a projection screen and the dancer stands. A large pencil appears. This enormous pencil belongs to Todd Fuller. One dancer is present on stage right. The pencil begins to lead, tracing the physical shape of the dancer and then the dance begins.

At times, the pencil leads, then it seems the dancer leads. The colour changes from sketching into something more than life drawing, turning red. The dancer has red swirling through and around their body. Both are fluid, dancer and colour. From red the colours meld to blue and the dance between artist, colour and dancer becomes bolder as the colour range expands. Sometimes Todd leads, sometimes the dancers.

Sketch with Between 2 and Zero., Sketch by Carl Sciberras and Todd Fuller, Todd Fuller Artwork,
Sketch full of colour - Todd Fuller Artist along with dancers.

More colour, more dancers. It is both entrancing and all consuming. As the colours lift and change, your senses move between sound, colour and dance. At times the two, colour and dancer are one. At times they are distinctly 2 separate art forms.

As movement changes, colour changes. Todd Fuller tells me "that all the art work is performed at the time" and cannot be recreated. Each life drawing or abstract interpretation of movement is from that time and space only with each performance a new art conceptualisation. There is one superb piece of life drawing in movement that has been pre prepared due to its beautiful complexity.

Some movements create long extended lines, others swirl and intermingle with a beautiful light colour arrangement. The colour arrangement lifts the dancing. Movements that stretch and bend and swirl. Costumes as canvases and bare feet with gentle yet strong, defined movements. At times the dancers are colour, at times the colour is present in the background and not the foreground.

Sketch, Flatline, Carl Sciberras and Todd Fuller, Rosslyn Whythe and Carl Sciberras dance.,
Rosslyn Whythe and Carl Sciberras dance.

One dancer leaves the floor. I am fully engaged in comprehending what is before me. Both like a child evolving in the movement and colour and imagining as well as wishing to understand the choreographers intent. Rosslyn latter explained some aspects of the at times controlled or mechanical movements. It is more than this though the three dancers when together do seem to work in a systematic process of movement, yet the mechanisms are gentle and flow.

The third part of Sketch moves to one woman with what may be her shadow or a reflection. From where I sit, you can hear her breathing from exertion; it brings the physicality of the dance forward.

The pencil reappears and the pre-prepared life drawing in motion interposes with the physiological perfection of the dancer. Her movements contoured in the work and the work displaying something that it may seem she wishes to recapture the moment of. As if somehow she cannot see how she could be the beauty of the dance created. It is beautiful to observe the interplay of art, the dance and the performer.

Sketch and Beyond Two and Zero. Flatline Dance and Art Project, Form Dance Project: Sketch and Between 2 and 0.
Sketch (Image Flatlines.)

The Lennox Theatre is part of the Riverside Theatre complex in Parramatta. It seats around 220 and was near full on a Thursday evening, with a broad audience demographic.

Funding to develop this body of work comes through Form Dance Projects. Allowing these incredibly educated and proficient artists to display the dance industry in Australia to a local audience. There are more Form funded performances calendered on their website for the year 2014.

This is a convergence of minds, bodies and art forms. Sketch does create an overlapping and play of both art and dance. The musical composition evokes movement and the methodically trained dancers expand with a precision of movement as the colour unfolds. The two earlier pieces come freshly to mind in their style and meter. With both Matt Cornell and Miranda Wheen leaving a distinct imprint in my mind of their defined movements and interplay.

It would be brilliant to see and hear about more dance projects being easily accessible to engage a greater audience. Much has been done in the Western Suburbs of Sydney to promote dance and theatre. A younger demographic is ready to become a more educated consumer of dance.

The cost of $28 per ticket for an evening of dance makes it a worthwhile pursuit to attend. These performances are worthy of being encountered more rather than less.

Images courtesy of Flatline Dance.

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Why? Contemporay Dance Projects by our best.
When: Thurs 11th September - Sat 13th September
Phone: 61 2 8839 3399
Where: Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatre Parramatta
Cost: $25 to $28
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