Muscle Memory (Collusion)
Judith Wright Centre, Performance Space
August 17 – 20
Collusion‘s “Muscle Memory” is an exquisite experience of creative collaboration; the shared artistic adventure features the versatile music quartet and exciting young pre-professional dancers from the Queensland Ballet presenting a collection of five heartfelt and virtuosic works. And the result of the heightened synchronicity of dance and live music is simply superb… an experience sure to stay with audiences regardless of their level of dance acquaintance.
From the opening number ‘Urban Myths, a look at the image of the ‘perfect marriage’ and what might lie beneath its sepia photographs, it is clear that all of the dancers are first rate in both execution of former Queensland Ballet’s Gareth Belling’s choreography and conveyance of that something magical that defines ballet. At once graceful and strong, they demonstrate precision, subtlety and strength, whether through Pointe technique or Fouetté, across the range of numbers, from the lyrical liquidity of duets like ‘Mourning Song’, about a woman remembering a lover who has died and their one last dance together, to the machine-like collective synchronisation ‘Transition Sequence.
Collusion, as always, exude excellence, none more so than Benjamin Greaves. His powerful violin performance alongside Cellist Danielle Bentley from front of stage steals the show during ‘Mourning Song’, such is his dynamism of his thoroughly engaging skill. The World Premiere of Philip Eames’ commissioned piano quintet ‘Annealed Cyan Malt’ is also a highlight, adding another layer to the already-unique ‘Refraction’, during which dancers are all signed a colour, and can only interact with the colours directly next to them in the spectrum.
Supporting the works’ thematic diversity is Ben Hughes’ luscious lighting design, taking audiences from the contrasting passion and tranquillity of ‘Urban Myths’ to the kaleidoscopic colour and energy of ‘Refraction’. Noelene Hill’s careful costumes, too, create some stunning imagery, such as that of Hannah Clark swathed in an upturned tutu in playful competition with Daniel Kempson in ‘Transference’.
“Muscle Memory” is Australian choreographed, composed, produced and performed art at its beautiful best. Its too-short season at The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts offers an intimate and comparatively inexpensive opportunity to see the ballet stars of tomorrow that is simply tutu good to miss.
Photos c/o – FenLan Photography