Antistatic: all-in dance festival

RealTime

Helen Omand, Rapt

Helen Omand, Rapt

Helen Omand, Rapt

Despite the odds (funding uncertainties, space shortages and touring impossibilities) an impressive line-up of dancers from across the country will front for this year’s Antistatic dance festival which offers a positively immersive experience for audiences.

The galleries will be jumping with installations. You can go a few rounds with virtual dancer Nicole Johnston in Chunky Move’s interactive dance installation CLOSER conceived by Gideon Obarzanek with new media artist Peter Hennessey. This will be a sneak preview of a work commissioned by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and premiering at its opening in Melbourne later this year. More meditative possibilities on time, space and the performance experience are on offer in Queensland artist John Utans’ installations on second thoughts and immersed, the latter created with dancer Wendy McPhee and sound/film artist George Poonkhin Khut. In NICHE Sue Healey choreographs for 2 dancers and film loop by Louise Curham, and in Bird Talk 1-7, Paul Gazzola (the world via WA) answers, among other questions, “Can a toy bird teach me choreography?” In and around the galleries, in mini-Me the anarchic Jeff Stein attempts to join opposing forces of minimalism and expressionism in the one body and The Fondue Set lead the audience on another kind of dance.

Important at this year’s Antistatic is the presence of emerging choreographers in a program entitled Mobile States which also tours to Perth’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. Artists include Simon Ellis (Victoria) presenting FULL, a dance-theatre work based on the life of his grandmother; Felicity Morgan (WA) unpacking a dialogue on duality in Twosomely; Helen Omand who’s work has been raising eyebrows in Adelaide at events like Fresh Bait and Ignition, presenting her solo Rapt. And if you missed its short season at B-Sharp last year in Four on the Floor, there’s a chance to catch Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters in the sexy Sentimental Reason which offers some new connections between physical theatre and dance.

In the second week, Rakini weaves dance and vocals in Claustrophobia, a collaboration with composer Liberty Kerr; Eleanor Brickhill and Jane McKernan take a close look at self-image in Waiting to Breath Out and Michael Whaites presents Driving Me, his elegant duet with the work of video artist Carli Leimbach.

Works in progress will be presented by NSW artists Nikki Heywood (Body/explosive device) investigating “how to deliver gesture and text to within the skin of the listener: bullet-like”, and stella b dancers Nalina Wait and Katy McDonald collaborate with lighting designer Richard Manner. Brian Lucas (Queensland) works with “a dense format of dance, text and sound” in The book of revelation(s) and Ingrid Voorendt (SA) choreographs Fatigue, a solo for Stephen Noonan in which words push against movement.

On the talk front, in Dances with Screens you can join in a conversation between artists working with live/virtual bodies including Gideon Obarzanek, Wendy Houstoun (UK), Louise Curham, George Poonkhin Khut and Brigid Kitchin (filmmaker on Kate Champion’s groundbreaking Same, same, But Different). In Everyday Dance Erin Brannigan, Elizabeth Dempster and Ros Warby examine some theoretical and performative possibilities of the pedestrian body.

The workshop program throws up all sorts of interesting challenges to the brave dance artist. Special guest tutor Wendy Houstoun, investigating the nature of projection, asks “What rationale requires screened and live bodies to appear together? Voice expert Carolyn Connors wants to know, “What are you trying to say, and are you?” And in Impro Inferno Andrew Morrish asks his charges to jettison the concepts of choreographer, author, director, theme and content to concentrate on “the performer” and “the moment.”

Antistatic, Performance Space, Sydney, Sept 25-Oct 6, 2002

RealTime issue #50 Aug-Sept 2002 pg. 32

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1 August 2002