On Saturday 2nd of September, the Riverside Theaters hosted the opening night of Be Your Self, the newest production of the Australian Dance Theater.
Conceived and Directed by world-renowned Artistic Director and Choreographer Garry Stewart, Be Your Self explores the notions of the self and the dualism between the body and the mind. It takes us on a journey from the beginning of humans’ lives to our inevitable decline and passing.
It was interesting to step back and change our perspective on the human body. It is a complex machine, initially made out of raw materials such as water or electricity. Its mechanism remains a mystery for most of us who use it intuitively without questioning the fundamental aspects if its nature.
With a robotic voice, the actress Cathy Adamek, continually provides a flow of information and attempts to shed light on how the body physically functions. The dancers’ mechanical movements, devoid of any humanity, as well as the grinding sounds beautifully illustrate this idea of “body-as-object”.
In a splendid scene, literally representing the dance of life, each of the eight dancers personify a vital part of the body – such as the heart, the lungs, the neurons, or even the blood.
Contrary to what one might expect, Be Your Self doesn’t sing the praises of singularity. It shows how similar humans are. Indeed, we are all living beings experiencing life though our bodies. From this point of view and despite what we believe, we are all the same.
The costumes exemplify this idea of universality and anonymity, as there is no distinction between the dancers; they all wear the same white outfit.
Finally, the tragi-comique scene depicting the spectrum of human emotions reminds us not only that, even though we sometimes feel alone, all of us share the same feelings, but also that one’s life is so insignificant that it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Aimy Guez moved to Sydney from Paris where she enjoys Sydney’s lifestyle as much as she likes writing about it. @aimyguez