A Bold Mix

A-Bold-Mix-Danny-Riley-in-Similar-Same-but-Different-photo-by-Lorna-SimActing as a bookend to Goddess which showcased women in dance, A Bold Mix offered an eclectic selection of short dance works performed by male dancers both in person and on film.

Providing a thread between the two programs, the first work In Situ, choreographed by Ryuichi Fujimura was performed with light-hearted panache by Christopher Wade, a recent graduate of Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Sydney and a member of the Future Makers Collective.

Three excerpts from In Situ were featured in Goddess, so this work, together those shown during Goddess provided not only an engaging curtain raiser, but also an interesting insight into the work being produced by DCM.

It was a particular pleasure to revisit a little masterpiece entitled Similar, Same but Different. Given a charismatic performance by Danny Riley, this work is based on a piece, choreographed by Ruth Osborne for Riley’s brother, Jack Riley to perform at the Elvis at 21 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Mirroring his brother’s image, captured on film in performance at the NPG and projected on to the wall behind him, and using the same bright red chair and white tuxedo, dancing to a recording of Elvis Presley singing Love Me Tender and Are You Lonesome Tonight, Danny Riley performed the athletic choreography with a calm assurance that was sweetly captivating and quite moving.

Sydney dance artist, Ryuichi Fujimura’s mesmerising work, How did I get Here, which he began by crossing the floor, martini in hand, in agonisingly slow motion, demanded and received astonishing muscular control, as did a later work, All Blank Wasteland, performed by Jason Pearce and Jazmyn Carter in vivid blue smocks and masks to transport the audience into an otherworldly landscape.

Wearing matching costumes decorated with flying buckles, Logan Ganas and Bailey Wyatt bought a cheerful nonchalance to their piece, Jkix which belied the complexity of the street-dance choreography. Similarly, Ghanaian dancer, Lucky Lartey, charmed his audience with his performance of Full Circle which he commenced wearing a crisp white costume, which he exchanged for black gym wear as the piece progressed.

Several excellent short films separated the in-person items. Among them, a personal favourite, Naturally Urban depicting local dancers, Danny Riley, Cassidy Thomson and John Rudd filmed happily dancing their way through a number of iconic Canberra locations; a music video The Harry Morrissey Official – Bussy featuring Melbourne based drag queen Harry Morrissey; Uath Lochans, a dream-like reverie, filmed in Scotland, featuring  disabled dance artist, Marc Brew; and Generate – a work choreographed by Liz Lea, performed by dancers from Maya Dance Theatre,  Subastian Tan and Shahrin Johry.

Supported by excellent lighting and stage management  this satisfying and memorable evening of contemporary dance was brought to a climax by an unforgettable performance by dance legend, Patrick Harding Irmer, who distilled a life-time of dance practice into an elegiac demonstration of how even the tiniest movement can have meaning with his solo, Pearl – a dance about absence.

A Bold Mix
QL2 Dance Studio – Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon (Canberra)
Performance: Saturday 5 March 2022
Information: www.theboldfestival.com.au

Image: Danny Riley in Similar, Same but Different – photo by Lorna Sim

Review: Bill Stephens OAM