Designed to showcase some of the infinite variety of dance styles embraced by female performers, Goddess was one of several dance performances presented this week as part of the annual BOLD 22 Festival of Dance.

The program of short works commenced in the forecourt of the National Portrait Gallery with a work entitled August performed in the Hilal contemporary style focussing on locomotive movement and nuance. Moving gracefully in unison in flowing green costumes in the bright sunlight to the haunting music of Ludovico Einaudi, the three dancers provided a gentle entre to the program.

This was followed three short solos under the umbrella title of In Situ, first seen at the 2021 Sydney Festival, and performed by Matina McAneney, Bedelia Lowrencev and Beryl La, all members of Dance Makers Collective youth company, Future Makers, which provided a powerful demonstration of how effective dance can be as a tool for exploring complex experiences.

Following In Situ the audience moved indoors into Gordon Darling Hall where Liz Lea clad in acres of white silk performed a spectacular tribute to the BOLD patron, Elizabeth Cameron Dalman.

Four superbly costumed Bharatanatyam dancers from the Agal Dance Company, Nikki Sekar, Vishni Ravindran, Shobana Suresh and Shaini Shiva, performed a complex and captivating work entitled Tillana to the live cello accompaniment of Dr. John Napier, and an unnamed percussionist and singer.

Striking contemporary dance explorer, Anca Frankenhauser performed the first of three items in which she featured, a solo, Angels, My angels, My Glorious Angels, to the guitar accompaniment of busker, Tom Ward; another solo, Homage to Bob (With me Still) a tribute a friend, Bob Cohan, who died in January, and a duo with former International ballet dancer, Emma Sandall, devised by Sandall, entitled Cledonism to the music of Ben Folds and Alice Major.

Former lead dancer with Bangarra Dance Theatre, and Helpmann Award winner, Yolanda Lowatta, performed a revealing, self-devised solo entitled As I Am which she described as “a mix of all that has shaped me”.  Also revealing was Debora di Centa’s solo, Ishtar, a re-imagining of a solo by Rudolf Laban, in which she entered in a striking black and gold costume, which piece by piece, she stripped away in an act of purification.

Gender fluid artist, Charlie Wan offered an intriguing solo entitled Glass Ceilings exploring the relationship between art and artists. Multi-talented Tammi Gissell performed ngangkurlkiin, a self-exploratory solo reflecting one woman’s journey across the landscape of her life, and the dance ensemble, Somebody’s Aunt, performed a light-hearted work entitled She did it HER WAY, devised by Julie-Anne Long, challenging ideas on the visibility and invisibility of women’s work.

The final item on the program was a debut work by Canberra’s first inclusive dance company, Chamaeleon, entitled Golden Ratio, devised by Liz Lea and performed by Brydie Bulley, Anna Connelly, Katie Senior, Emily Knight, Neave Darmody, Lataesha Marsden, Tara Nguyen, Karin Adriansdatter and Liz Lea.

National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes (Canberra)
Performance: Friday 4 March 2022
Information: www.theboldfestival.com.au

Image: Liz Lea in Homage to Elisabeth (supplied)

Review: Bill Stephens