FUGUE the latest work from artistic Director Raewyn Hill at Dancenorth- Australia’s leading Contemporary Dance Theatre: to be performed as part of a double bill at Riverway Arts Centre,10 – 11 August, Dancenorth School of the Arts – Townsville 16th – 18th August, Centre of Contemporary Arts, Cairns 22 – 23 August 2012.
In May this year locals gathered expectantly in the foyer of Dancenorth at the School of the Arts in Townsville for Fugue – a new work from Dancenorth Artistic Director Raewyn Hill. The anticipation was well rewarded. Hill has previously created three internationally acclaimed contemporary works for Dancenorth including, The Cry (2010), Black Crows (2010) and MASS (2011). Fugue was created and performed for the Australian Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in Melbourne in June – ‘Let’s Dance’ showcased performances from the best of Australian dance nationally. Townsville audiences were treated to a special preview of Fugue before the company traveled to Melbourne for the gala performance.
The evening started with Hill giving an insight into the background of fleshing out and developing Fugue, including the technical and choreographic issues, and also the challenges for the dancers of rehearsing an unforgiving fast paced, physically demanding routine. While in residency in Paris at the Cite International des Arts, Hill became intrigued by the “Dancing Plague” of 1518. The plague was believed to have infected the people in the French town of Strasbourg who had inhaled mold in a wheat factory, causing some of the population to hallucinate and dance relentlessly to their death. Similarly, Spanish composer Maurice Ravel’s Bolero (the score for Fugue) is a dramatic piece inspired by the Bullfight, a sport described as the ultimate spectacle of life and death. Fittingly, the companies dancers perform in tight formation without pause for 20 minutes in collective momentum, till the stage lights darken and the dancers come to a breathless finish.
As a prelude to a full dress performance the dancers appeared on stage after Hill’s short presentation in rehearsal civvies and demonstrated the difficulties of overcoming the challenges of the cracking Bolero tempo with a show of seamless floor work. The rhythmic sound of focused voices, chanting out the moves interspersed with some expletive humour, as the dancers worked it like a rehearsal, was a great behind the scenes moment for the audience. After exiting back stage the dancers returned dressed elegantly in dove grey and sequined, matador inspired outfits by International fashion divas Sass and Bide. Light and fog created an atmospheric minimalist set with Gothic overtones sympathetic to the subject. The tight unison of collective movement infused with individual expression, and physical prowess, showcased the dedication and passion of the dancers as a whole and individually to the piece.
The celebrated Spanish painter Goya believed all great art simply references the struggle of life and death and this is a strong and continuous motif in Hill’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed Fugue; for me it was a quick silver piece of beauty. The Townsville arts community is blessed to have the acclaimed talents of Hill and rehearsal Director Bradley Chatfield to elevate and inspire us.
If you missed out earlier in the year you can enjoy a double Bill at Riverway and The School of the Arts respectively next week in Townsville with Dancenorth showcasing Fugue and Black Crows ( score by Micka Luna). This series of performances consists of two contrasting works created by Dancenorth Artistic Director Raewyn Hill and international guest choreographer Stijn Celis. Black Crows( created during the company’s residency at the Baryshnikov Centre in New York in 2011) has been re-costumed and re-worked. For bookings call Dancenorth on 4772 2549.