On a luscious pink draped tiered platform sit nine drummers dressed in black. Below them, on the stage, sit nine dancers dressed in white. They are all motionless, frozen in time. And then ... bang! A strike of the drum and a jolt of the body. Another bang, another pose. Gradually the beats get faster and the movements become larger, both becoming more elaborate. Choreographer Stephanie Lake is building up to something big with Manifesto and from its opening sequence she draws the audience into this world of anticipation and excitement for the unknown.
Even with so many people on stage, Lake gives opportunity for every individual to have their solo moments while also seen to be an integral part of the ensemble. At one point, the spotlight moves from drummer to drummer giving them a few seconds to perform before moving on to the next person. The spotlight continues to run back and forth down the line of musicians, and as it begins to speed up, so too do the drummers. The swiftness and dexterity they display is astonishing, with Rama Parwata deservedly having his place at the centre of the nine.