Should art, and indeed audiences for that matter feel the need to compartmentalise genres that confuse? Trying to decipher this work is difficult, to call it pure dance would be reductive, but with moments of the most beautiful and at times subserve choreography, it can neither fall into realm of performance art
In Underworld, we are met with a cataclysmic mess, a collision of ideas, metaphors and notions that leave a trail of carnage strewn. Singularly each of these montages pulled out of focus are non sensical, but placed side by side the performance seems at its heart to be obsessing with the harsh brutality of Australia’s vast and expansive plains. Here carnage taking the form of things often ended by being buried in land fill. With the continuation of the maximalist themes often present in the work of Rebecca Jensen and collaborator Sarah Aikens this performances interaction with device is impressive, complex and with its own sense of rationale. Same to, a brooding, angry and youthful take on the contemporary is proudly displayed here.
The smell of searing meet, violently hacked apart and slapped on the barbie, evocative. Complex shadow play and dancing in the dark, emotive. Revelations, obscurities and both the subtle and not so subtle littered throughout. With such an impressive scope to work from though, its now time for this performance to go deeper, harder and stronger. Time for the performers to really take the work somewhere even more remote, to get out from whatever comfort they find here or from their practice and take themselves further.
The ensemble here work together and against in balanced and perfect proportions; perhaps a little to much. But transgressing the level of polish applied to a work, this is a physically strong, measured and delivered performance, with the synergy shared by each dancer, titillating. Production values and score are as equally impressive.
We can speak without words, and dance is as powerful as any other example of our ability to do so. But what this performance achieves others may not, is to provide the ability for audience to draw from the work their own opinion and concept much like the work of a visual artist. This is what distinguishes Jensen’s and Aiken’s work from the rest of the pack, amassing multiple images, sources and concepts and allowing them to elope through the physical form of body and the language of choreography. Underworld is their most exciting collaboration to date.
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