Six variations on a lie, Ros Crisp

Keith Gallasch

Six variations on a lie, Ros Crisp

Six variations on a lie, Ros Crisp

The challenge of writing about dance was one of the topics for The Performance Space’s anti-static forum (the whole event will be reported in RealTime 19) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. I don’t write about dance, but sometimes I feel compelled to, just as Virginia Baxter did in RealTime 17, reading Molissa Fenley’s Sydney Festival performance from another angle, the face). Seeing American Jennifer Monson’s remarkable contribution to anti-static, with its absolute shifts from nuance to explosion, from interiority to consuming gaze, from the mundanely material to the spiritual, made me re-think/re-experience Rosalind Crisp’s Six Variations On A Lie (Omeo Dance Studio, March 7-9). Six Variations…is a diminuendo, from physical explosion to stillness and silence, a vast and exhausting release, the dancer’s bursts of energy recurring less frequently, more slowly (revealing their choreographic and especially gestural shape). Against and eventually into this pattern, Ion Pearce plays a delicate cello composition while a very pregnant Nikki Heywood sits still, watching, muttering a barely intelligible mothering ‘are you okay?/pull yourself together’ type tongue. A third accompaniment is a sole male figure climbing down a ladder and crossing the performance area with a parcel towards an unspecified destination at slowest Butoh pace. While this variation seemed too familiar, the Pearce and Heywood presences were rich in the evocation of a dialogue between pent up physical force and the ambiguities of advice and consolation. In Rosalind Crisp’s work the meaning and source of emotion is not always clear, and for some that’s distancing. But she is one of Sydney’s most indiosyncratic self-choreographing dancers, and, for me Six Variations…got closer to the release of an essence.

RealTime issue #18 April-May 1997 pg. 36

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 April 1997