The Type (Pink Matter)
Metro Arts, New Benner Theatre
September 10 – 13
Pro-girl gang, Pink Matter’s “The Type” brings together five female dancers from different cultural backgrounds and of all shapes and sizes. In the languish of the show’s opening number, they are entwined and bonded to each other in slow angles and with some sizzling synchronised Fosse-esque isolations. Though there is no clear narrative from here, there are distinct themes to the repertoire on display as the performers break apart and return together to share some empowering street dance, inspired by their lived experiences around representation and body image, blended with the power and strength of fusion movement. Accordingly, each dancer is given individual moments to shine in the world premiere performance as part of the Brisbane Festival. And shine Floss Moloney, Wanida Serce, Monika Stojevski, Kimberley Smit and Amy Zhang, all do, as they each show impressive movement, expression, emotions and stage presence that captures the audience.
As the chain of dancers breaks, lighting warms the stage along with the seasawing sounds of Yaeji’s electronic ‘Raingurl’ and performer, creator and Creative Director Wanida Serce’s impressive fusion and conceptual free form choreography/freestyle starts to take shape. The work’s hybrid hip-hop, R&B and House music soundtrack works well to elevate its experience, reflecting a sense of journey through life’s lived experiences of lapses and learning. By the time we get to Missy Elliott’s ‘She a Bitch’, the collective’s all-original sensibility is clear as the stage pumps with athleticism, intricacy, flexibility and palpable pop and lock energy and attitude, especially in a later acrobatic number from Serce.
The show is full of light and shade moments too, enhanced by Serce’s considered choices which aid in the creation of memorable imagery, such as when Smit leads the others in formation of fluid ensemble movements like a flock of beautiful birds soaring into flight. Creative elements such as Christine Felmingham’s lighting design, similarly, aid in the creation of memorable moments such as when bespeckled lighting washes over a dramatic overhead lift.
A well-chosen soundscape enhances, without overwhelming the effect of routines, which speak volumes alone as they set about challenging the standards of beauty and success that shape entertainment today. This is evident, most notably, in a powerful number from Floss Moloney, which sees the powerhouse performer encircled by mirrors in what emerges as an ultimate celebration of self-efficacy.
Diverse as the talented dancers may be, their synchronicity is always excellent, and transitions concise. It is nice, also, to see choreography that allows for facial expression beyond blank stare, yet never detracting from the collective’s upbeat spirit, and formidable and fearless big girl power energy. This is clearly a hardworking company of proud performers trying to push the envelope of dance’s legacy of tired, carbon-copy stereotypes and “The Type” not only contributes to this, but energises their audience along for an electric and entertaining physical conversation.
Photos c/o – Logan Preste