Spectra is the result of an artistic collaboration between Australian regional dance company Dancenorth and Japanese Butoh dance company Batik.
It was conceived and choreographed by Dancenorth artistic director Kyle Page, with significant input from digital installation artist Tatsuo Miyajima and brilliant guitarist and electronic composer Jiro Matsumoto.
The beauty of this production is that it combines complexity with simplicity: the founding concept is inspired by the Buddhist concept that suggests the secrets of the universe lie in causality, that one thing leads to another.
The dancers are superb and the fusion of contemporary dance with Butoh creates moments of incredible athleticism and beauty.
Alisdair Macindoe, in an amber spotlight, fluidly gyrates and stretches while Kyle Page flicks a white rope past him; whether he is man awakening or the origin of the universe matters little.
Macindoe takes hold of the rope and connections begin as other dancers, dressed in loosely fashioned pastel material with a variety of textures begin to explore each other. They may be forming relationships, human societies or galaxies but, thematically, there is always a connection between an individual and the group.
Matsumoto’s guitar work is astounding; rich in variety, it provides tremendous energy for the dancers.
Niklas Pajanti has surrounded the dance floor with lights, and creates evocative backgrounds which set the scene for the universality of the themes. Above, through a purple haze, hang Tatsuo’s small digital numbers which randomly shift from one to nine, reflecting the central notion that events do not occur without causes and all elements being in place.
In one glorious scene, the ensemble combine as one when they link arms and move gracefully while interconnected. There are marionette-like movements and times when the dancers tremble to touch each other, expressing a fear of intimacy; perhaps the conditions have to be right in the cosmos if connections are going to be made.
There are also marvelous solo moments, such as when Amber Haines performs a self-exploration, and group scenes where the company could be a flock of birds.
After an energetic hour, the dancers still have the stamina to run in circles as individuals connect with the others and leave them. A ballet of hands while the dancers kneel leads to a solo dancer completing the action; his situation would not have occurred if all of the other actions and not taken place.
Spectra is an outstanding artistic collaboration and, once again, the OzAsia Festival has brought us something truly unique, beautiful and stimulating.
Dancenorth and Batik Dance Company will present Spectra at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space theatre again tonight (October 1).
Visit InDaily’s OzAsia Festival hub for more reviews and stories
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