Two intriguing dance works you can watch from home

Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art, October 24

There are many memorable images in this hour-long film by choreographer and director Sue Healey, which was intended as an installation — a mixture of live and filmed performance the audience would walk around.

The lockdown stopped that a few days before it began, and it has now taken a fully on-screen form for the Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art, shot in the intriguing surroundings of Carriageworks.

The work is a rich mix of people and places, bodies and faces.

ON VIEW: PANORAMIC SUITE has involved eight years of Healey’s working life. It has taken her from Australia to Hong Kong and Japan, filming 27 dancers. The result is a rich mix of people and places, bodies and faces, captured in a variety of ways from straightforward dancing portraits to multiple images. Some have been seen before as this fully realised version was being developed.

Highlights range from dust-raising dance moves in an expanse of dry Australian landscape to a gripping encounter with a near-naked whitened Butoh dancer on a bridge at night. They include the amazing Eileen Kramer, aged 107 and still dancing, seated on a chair in flowing white, with film of her in action outdoors; those hands may show their age but they are still arrestingly graceful.

Healey, working with cinematographer Ken Butti, makes playful use of moving cameras and a drone to offer their own kind of dance in split screens and shared space between “live” dancers and film projected on walls and screens.

These filmic events bring welcome variety, as choreographically there is a lot of arm-waving and not much in the way of extended movement. The sheer contrasts in dancers is also refreshing. Jane Theau’s delicate costume portraits hanging about give an idea of what it would have been like to wander around, as in the original concept.

Darrin Verhagen’s music is sympathetic throughout, but I was glad the dancers’ voice-over comments faded away after a while. Dancers are poets of movement, not words; we go to see their thoughts expressed in actions.

ON VIEW: PANORAMIC SUITE can be seen through Liveworks Festival until October 31.

YouTube, October 21

Inevitably, COVID-19 has permeated dance as a subject. BUBBLES, choreographed by Singapore-based Stephanie Burridge and its two solo performers in Singapore and Sydney, explores human resilience set against the fear of infection, the battle against illness, the lockdowns – and, happily, a figure emerging into a more hopeful world.

Yarra Ileto in Singapore sets it off in an elegantly lit studio. She is curiously dressed in black activewear under a trench coat with a beanie on her head and pink point shoes – though the dance style is strictly contemporary. She thrashes around gracefully in an anxious way, her movement varied with the help of close-ups.

Anca Frankenhaeuser in Sydney is seen coping with lockdowns at home. It’s quite frightening to see her dancing with the furniture and an indoor pillar as partners – was it that bad? This is the most powerful and scary section, though it is lightened by a scene of running exercise in the garden with the cat looking on incredulously.

It was given to Anca to emerge from the pandemic into a park on the edge of the harbour, offering hope to all.

Changes of clothes help vary what is repetitious at times – not surprisingly in terms of the theme. There is some interesting editing by Clare Chong and the music by Robert Casteels is a constant delight.

BUBBLES can be seen on YouTube

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