When Director and Choreographer Gideon Obarzanek listened to Jun Tian Fang and Genevieve Lacey play inside a closed room in Beijing, he was instantly connected to something bigger than himself. By joining hands with composer Max de Wardener to craft One Infinity, that is exactly what the creative team gifts to the audience.
The hypnotizing combination of music and dance that unfolds on the stage for an hour brings together movement and stillness, sound and silence, light and dark in a mysterious flow that both captivates and enraptures. The dancers’ movements (sometimes casual, sometimes elaborate) hint at some of life’s truth(s) without never really imposing a statement: movements and sound emerge one after the other as a nonjudgmental echo that simply build on endlessly in a natural progression.
The cross-cultural element of the production cannot be missed. The stage is set up in the middle of the room with half the audience on one side, and half of it, on the other. Half the dancers are from Beijing Dance Theater (dressed in blue) and half of them from Dancenorth Australia (dressed in red). Symmetry is constantly played with and challenged, diluting dialectics in this state of ethereal flow that Obaraznek describes as ‘simple gestures, done en masse, creating patterns in which individuals disappear to become part of a larger, unison fabric’.
The music in itself is what brings about this dream-like ambiance. Combining the sounds of Chinese traditional instruments such as the Chinese flute and the guqin, the music ensemble of One Infinity majestically transports all of those within the room into a sort of existential void, where movement is all.
Lourdes Zamanillo is a Melbourne-infatuated journalist. Originally from Mexico, she loves words, travelling, and (above all) feeling surprised.
One Infinity runs 12–20 October 2018 at The Coopers Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Buy tickets now.
The venue is accessible.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Melbourne International Arts Festival.
Image credit: Melbourne International Arts Festival.