What is Bodytorque.DNA? Is it ballet? Is it dance? I quickly learned that it was going to be the story of the human body — ballet style.
Five works by five choreographers are performed by 38 dancers. It was the 10th Bodytorque but the first to be held in Melbourne. The Arts Centre’s State Theatre was packed.
The sceptic inside me looked at the program and couldn’t fathom how the dances’ descriptions would be brought to life:
- Corpus Callosum – An ode to the human brain. The performance aimed to portray the halves of the brain with their own distinct personalities.
- Extro – Extroversion and introversion: a portrayal of the psychological qualities as they exist within each of our personalities.
- Control – to accept is to control. A piece depicting the fight to have control in all areas of our lives.
- Same Vein – despite our variations, predispositions and physiological outfits we are all the same – breathing, bleeding, loving and dying.
- I Cannot Know – what happens at the edges of what we do know. Where does consciousness come from and where does it go?
This would be difficult enough to portray with film and full-blown James Cameron-style CGI. How were choreographers going to pull off these abstract concepts through ballet?!
Bodytorque began. It started slowly and silently. Was my scepticism being confirmed? There was no music and it looked like ballet to me. Corpus Callosum – the melding of two halves of the brain. How, how was this going to work?
Then boom! Cue lights, cue music, cue energy!
As a ballet novice, I quickly read through each description just before each piece so I could prime myself. It was extraordinary. I actually felt the wonder of each piece as it was performed in front of me and somehow, beyond my wildest expectations, the portrayals actually represented what was written in the description. Magnifique!
There was incredible skill by the performers on the night. Their contortions defied my narrow logic of the possible and their rhythmic elegance to the orchestra (who were also fabulous) pushed the pieces to another level.
I highly recommend this for novices to the ballet. The spread of five unique and very different short pieces (each about 10-15 mins) is perfect for the uninitiated. It would be great to know what trained eyes thought of the performance. All I know is that I was entertained and left wanting to experience more. In my experience of events — and there have been many over the years — this is really as good as it gets.
It was almost a sellout performance, and after word of mouth spreads I suspect you’ll need to get in quick. Catch the final performance of Bodytorque.DNA on Tuesday 24 June.