Despite being younger than his mentors, Akira Kasai is considered to be one of the most established figures of butoh, starting his own studio in Japan–before studying Eurythmy (expressive movement art) in Germany. Kasai’s wide range of influences is evident in Pollen Revolution, brought for the first time to the Melbourne stage by Dancehouse Theatre.
After my chat with Antony Hamilton, I was extremely excited to witness the premiere of his latest piece, Universal Estate. I made my way to Arts House and was escorted through large double doors and into a bright, clinical room. It felt as though I had walked into an episode of Black Mirror. It was a four-hour long dance piece, and audiences were allowed to walk in and out as they pleased. They could also choose to sit or stand anywhere within the space, on the designated benches or the floor.
In the middle of the dancefloor lie several elongated television screens stacked in a small pile, surrounded by wires. The speakers pulse in semi-unison, a fury of rhythmic beats that border between white noise and music. The screens flash in synchronized stripes of color. This forms the set to award-winning choreographer Antony Hamilton’s new dance piece, Universal Estate.
There is little more anxiety-inducing in live theatre than the word ‘participation.’. But to describe James Welsby’s Dancing Qweens immersive and communal experience as simple participation would be a complete disservice to the queer time warp that Welsby’s alter ego, Valerie Hex, led us through at Carlton’s Dancehouse.
It is only recently that McAllister returned to perform, for the first time since becoming artistic director, in the Australian Ballet’s production of The Merry Widow in Melbourne. On a stage saturated by diamond-studded dresses and scarlet curtains, McAllister appears as Njegus, the bumbling secretary to the ambassador. Pantomimic and slapstick, the fantasy is in full swing—and McAllister knows how to play the game. The audience drinks deeply from his perfectly timed winks and silly walks, revelling in the comedy.
Dancing with Freya McGrath is a transformational experience—it is an ecstatic declaration of the power of the body, and in her latest work she asks you to enter that space too. Will you take the plunge?