Quantum Leap, the performing section of QL2 Dance, celebrated its 20th year, with an impressive program of new and revisited works. Three of the works were remounts from previous programs, and five were specially created for these performances, mostly by QL2 alumni.
Presented with the meticulous attention to detail we have come to expect from Quantum Leap, with simple, appropriate costumes by Cate Clelland, evocative video projections by Wildbear Entertainment and compelling soundscapes composed by Adam Ventura and Warwick Lynch , they formed a compelling demonstration of what has been achieved in the last 20 years by QL2 Dance, under the Artistic Direction of Ruth Osborne.
The evening commenced with a film of the 2013 Quantum Leap ensemble performing outdoors. As the film climaxed with the dancers standing posed in the outdoor setting, the screen rose to reveal the current ensemble posed in similar positions to provide a magical segue into Daniel Riley’s moving Where We Gather.
Remounted by Dean Cross, with the final rehearsals overseen by Daniel Riley, this beautifully realized work was a thoughtful exploration of the notion of the interaction of indigenous and non-indigenous young people. Having seen Riley’s most recent work for Bangarra Dance Company in Dark Emu, this opportunity to revisit one of his earlier choreographies proved especially interesting.
Between each work in the program were filmed segments in which the choreographers shared insights into their particular creations. With her work, Nexus, Sara Black explored the moments of decision that provided the catalyst to a lifetime in dance, with the dancers articulating those moments as they expressed them in dance.
Fiona Malone’s 2006 work, Landscape, re-imagined here by Alison Plevey and Ruth Osborne, made imaginative use of hand-held lights, projected onto the backdrop, and flowing skirts, to create a sense of the Australian sky and constellations. Steve Gow incorporated impressive floorwork into his piece entitled Empower, which was danced against a background of inspirational words.
Voice-overs of young dancers reflecting on the past and future were effectively incorporated in her work, ME/Us by Ruth Osborne, while Eliza Sanders made imaginative use of large perspex magnifiers and energetic, free-flowing movements for her all-female work, Bigger.
Perhaps the most memorable work of the evening was the remounting by Alison Plevey of Jodie Farrugia’s 2011 work, Identify – This Land is Calling, which explored Australia’s migration history from early settlers to recent refugees in a series of poignant images in which some dancers arrived carrying suitcases, others in shackles, and still others with nothing at all.
The final work was something that has become something of a tradition for QL2 presentations, a joyous finale, cleverly devised by Ruth Osborne entitled Celebrate, in which the dancers reprised sections from each of the programmed items, before being joined on stage by numerous QL2 alumni from the audience.
Performed in the presence of its newest patron, Rafael Bonachela, Two Zero was not only an inspiring evening of dance, but also a compelling celebration of why QL2 is held in such esteem as a leader in youth dance in Australia.
Playhouse Theatre – Canberra Theatre Centre, London Circuit, Canberra
Performance: Thursday 9 August 2018
Season: 9 – 11 August 2018
Image: Two Zero – photo by Lorna Sim
Review: Bill Stephens OAM