Credit: Prue Upton
Last Saturday afternoon I hot footed it to the big Red Box that is home to Legs On The Wall in Lilyfield to see Puncture, the latest show currently in development.
It is big and ambitious, with 20 choir members from Vox and the promise of 20 more to come and twelve dancers, two; Kristina Chan and Josh Thomson, acting as mentors.
There were quite a few people in attendance, around 70 or so and anticipation built as introductions ensued, from creatives including; director Patrick Nolan, choreographer Kathryn Puie, set and costume design Mel Page and Mic Gruchy, video design.
Formalities dispensed with, we ventured inside to experience.
Introductions were repeated, this time on the floor, as couples were formed, comprised of awkward (intended) boy meets girl moments, wall flowers and safety in numbers strategies, blokes looking nonchalant and girls on the side lines.
This was the scene of our parents’ generation or the current Y gens’ grandparents, with gentle contact more akin to formal court dances.
The movement then became more singular in nature, still imbued with the formality of the court, the dancers as individuals predominately moving as a large organism. Even though this section was slightly more abstract in nature, it reminded me of my teenage youth, jiggling side by side to bands with names like Flock of Seagulls and The Cure. Touching was not cool, except at the slow dance at the end of the night where you might end up as a surprise couple.
The partnering resumed as before, but this time with more daring physical virtuosity, as bodies were thrown high on shoulders and flung around torsos into the arms of the next partner.
A curious duet featured, revealing the primping in preparation. Two dancers were revolving, separated by a chorus line of choir singers one being filmed by a mobile video device and superimposed onto the other via hand held projection. At one point two faces became one.
The choir retreated only to form a line once more, slowly entreating forward. This was a fabulous device giving them an air of menace or foreboding inevitability as the dancers moved in and around them and seemed to be engulfed, swallowed whole by them.
The last dances represented were those of now. The rowdy crowds in immense numbers, strangers’ bodies squashed together. Touching no longer a gentle caress but an act of excited volatility.
This too brought memories from my teens, of pogoing to John Lydon of Public Image formerly Johnny Rotten The Sex Pistols at the Hodern Pavillion and to other bands with names like 9 Pound Hammer and Iron Prostate at various punk picnics. Still 20 years on and we are crowd surfing in huge numbers across stadiums, getting soused and sunburned simultaneously enjoying our big day out at any one of the major music marathon festivals touring the globe.
The promising future of this work is its ability to access a wide range of kinesthetic experiences and for the audiences to connect in this way too. Proof that dance is still a dominant social lubricant.
By Vicki Van Hout