Fieldworks works the room

Terri-ann White

What I wanted, more than anything, for this piece of work was a clearer commitment to abstraction in its own terms. All of the elements of the work—the dancers, the choreography, the engagement of music to movement, us sitting there in an implausible performance space, were diminished for me through the application of narrative. I wanted to honour these parts of the sum, to follow the lines offered up through the dancing bodies, through the very idea of that hotel dining room being the space to have generated the work. I have been in enough old buildings made into museum sites to know about the layers of story, traces left behind. I wanted to be allowed to do some of that work of interpretation myself without the imprint of storytelling.

Aside from that interpretive space I yearned for, the work with all of its leaning, its support and withholding, of passion and its repercussions, was pretty satisfying. To start with, the dancers were fine and spirited, making dramatic the otherwise prosaic space. Paul O’Sullivan, Setefano Tele, Jane Diamond, Shelley Mardon. In solo and in often fiery relationships, the register of passionate gestures and movement was always engaging, as long as it wasn’t trying to illustrate words (ban the words!). There was some deeply sexy choreography here, bodies slamming around in quite a charge. An encounter between the two men was a particularly thrilling, physical delight.

I don’t want to deny dancers their voices, but the eloquence of their movement surpassed all story lines offered here. Fieldworks continues to attract fine performers, and the collaborative approach of making work is also to be admired. The inclusion of blues musician Ivan Zar to provide what sounded like an improvised guitar and harmonica track was another delight.

I Lean on You, You Lean on Me, directed by Jim Hughes, Fieldworks Performance Group, Old Peninsula Hotel, Maylands, Perth. April 1997

RealTime issue #19 June-July 1997 pg. 28

© Terri-Ann White; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 June 1997