Thursday 7 May 2015

Frame of Mind review

Sydney Dance Company has returned to Melbourne with Frame of Mind a double bill of extraordinary contemporary dance, featuring the Australian premiere of William Forsythe's Quintett and Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela's Frame of Mind. Although the execution of each work is very different, they both convey the same poignant message about the fleeting nature of life.

The evening began however, with a pre-performance talk with Bonachela and dancers Cass Mortimer Eipper and Chloe Leong. It's always great to hear the thought process that goes into creating any art form, so when the opportunity arises to attend one of these talks, I jump at the chance. It was interesting hearing about the development of the choreography of the pieces; particularly with Frame of Mind and how it grew into the performance we were about to see. Eipper's transition from ballet to contemporary dance and as a choreographer provided an opportunity to learn about some of the challenges that dancers face. The hour flew by and before we knew it, it was show time.

Quintett, is a loving tribute to Forsythe's second wife, who died of cancer at the age of 32. Sadly, she never got to see this beautiful performance on the celebration of life and being in love. Unsurprisingly, it is performed by five dancers to Gavin Bryars’ track of a homeless man singing Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet on loop, the result of which leaves you hypnotised by the movements occurring on stage. There is a softness and frailty felt with Quintett (as with life), with the dancers constantly looking for support and contact with each other, which by the end, gives the audience permission to feel a warmth inside themselves.

The second piece of the evening though, Frame of Mind, is what I was completely enthralled with. The piece was reminiscent of Wayne McGregor's Chroma but with more human depth and emotion displayed on stage. Using all the company dancers, it is controlled chaos at its best with the dancers requiring precision timing to ensure the frenetic choreography is performed smoothly. There are strong jarring movements, as is with the music, which reminds you how quickly things can change in life but there is also a calmness to the choreography, creating moments of self-reflection.

The stage design, costumes and lighting in Frame of Mind are simple yet highly effective in supporting the choreography and the music in telling this story. The final few moments of the piece are utterly captivating and I was very disappointed when the curtains came down, as I could have continued watching this for hours more.

Frame of Mind is an impressive double bill by Sydney Dance Company and if you're a lover of dance, or just even curious about what dance can be and where it can take you and make you feel, then this is the show you must see.

Venue: Southbank Theatre, 140 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank, 3006.
Season: Until 16 May | Wed-Sat 8:00pm, Sat 2pm
Tickets: From $30.00
Bookings: Southbank Theatre

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