Chunky Move, Wet & Bonehead


Brett Daffy and Kathryn Dunn in Bonehead

Brett Daffy and Kathryn Dunn in Bonehead

Melbourne’s very own contemporary dance company Chunky Move will headbutt its new audience at a preview screening on Saturday May 16 at the CUB Malthouse with their new hour-long dance film Wet commissioned by ABCTV, choreographed and scripted by Mr. Chunky himself, Gideon Obarzanek, and directed by Steven Burstow. A cluey collaboration—Burstow is one of a very few Australian directors interested in exploring the interface between arts live and on TV.

In a city full of fancy footwork, Chunky Move aims to do its bit to shift the boundaries of conventional performance in dance. The company’s move from project-base to three-year funding status will allow it to realise works on a larger scale and to reach a wider audience. Let’s hope that it also buys the company some of the time it needs to seriously develop new work. At the Adelaide Festival, companies like Belgium’s Les Ballet C. de la B. made local mouths water with the relative luxury of their work processes—18 months non-stop for La Tristeza Complice. Nurtured over time, the works are developed further over a number of productions. Robert Lepage (The Seven Streams of the River Ota) says he doesn’t write anything down until the 200th performance!

At this stage, the program is looking decidedly chunky. First up will be a remount of their recent work, Bonehead for performances in Melbourne in May following a tour of the work to South America in April. Gideon Obarzanek sees Bonehead as a work about the body as utilitarian being or object. “At one time,” he says, “the body is able to be an hilarious caricature of a vulnerable victim, while at another, it is seen number-crunching frenetically through virtuosic movement combinations, reducing it to a mechanism of bone, sinew and muscle.”Bonehead features some of Australia’s most skilful dancers: Narelle Benjamin, Brett Daffy, Kathryn Dunn, Byron Perry and Luke Smiles and newcomer, VCA graduate, Fiona Cameron. A tour to Germany in June will be followed by a collaboration with Paul Selwyn Norton (UK/Holland) after which the company goes into intensive development for Hydra, a large scale work combining performance and sculptural installation which moves dance out of the theatre and into the pool. Hydra has been commissioned by the Sydney Festival and will tour Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and internationally throughout 1999. In June next year, a new triple bill will premiere in Melbourne including a commission for Lucy Guerin.

RealTime issue #24 April-May 1998 pg. 40

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1 April 1998