Taree Sansbury, Katina Olsen, and Caleena Sansbury perform an extraordinary work in mi:wi. The Main Hall at the Northcote Town Hall is a big space. mi:wi proves that you don’t need a big performance to fill a big space, you only need a big idea.
Taree writes, “‘mi:wi’ refers to the invisible ties we have to our past and future, people and country. In this arresting dance-based work, choreographer and dancer Taree Sansbury thoughtfully re-connects three Indigenous women through the practice of traditional Ngarrindjeri weaving.”
Much of mi:wi is small, often solitary movements, before becoming larger when all three performers are together. There’s lovely audio work by Alyx Dennison, as well as some compelling lights and projection from Cheryn Frost. Enough of a haze hangs in the air to catch the lines of projection from down to the view screen. It makes for a compelling image, one disrupted by one or more of the ensemble.
To be sure, ideas of weaving and tapestry are in the promotional material, but the sense of threads being brought together is palpable well before the performers literally start weaving a rope midway through. Despite the distance across the space, or the gravity of the tone of the piece, Taree, Katina, and Caleena succeed in engaging the audience.
A woven rope is stronger than the individual threads and in a vast near-empty box, essentially, the strength of the storytelling in mi:wi is undeniable. There’s urgency here, but there’s also hope.
Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote
Performance: Wednesday 16 May 2018 – 7.30pm
Season: 16 – 20 May 2018 (closed)
Image: Taree Sansbury features in mi:wi – photo by Jamie James
Review: David Collins