Echo - Australasian Dance Collective

‘Echo’ // Australasian Dance Collective

‘Echo’ was seamless. 

The Judith Wright Centre hosted the opening of Australasian Dance Collective’s new piece, ‘Echo’, featuring the ADC youth ensemble. The show was comprised of two live performances, plus several short film pieces. 

‘Echo’ featured stories of the human condition, childhood naivety, life in the modern world, and connection. The show began with a beautifully passionate and genuine introduction from ADC’s artistic director Amy Hollingsworth. Her love and excitement for the company, dance and the experience of sharing dance, was infectious in her introduction, which carried through each performance and was a pleasure to witness. 

The short films were cinematic and very different from one another, which made for a beautifully dynamic performance. The first piece, ‘Callow’, was shot and edited in an amazingly futuristic and dystopian fashion that perfectly captured the childhood purity and naivety being portrayed. The natural lighting and use of light white colours along with the incredible long-distance shots made for an experience of an alternate reality. Similarly, the piece entitled ‘Solstice’ had a great concept that was unlike anything one would see in a contemporary production. The beautiful technique, control and strength shown by the dancers in this piece really elevated the entire film. Finally, the piece entitled ‘Bewildered Mind’ featured some fantastic use of creative angles and camera work, along with well-constructed choreography that worked frictionlessly with the angles chosen. Truly a great piece of cinema with a well-thought-out concept. Sophia Eory was magnetising during this short film with her control and command of movement. 

For the live performances, lighting design by Glenn Hughes was powerfully subtle. There was a great use of black/negative space and then lovely moments of infused lighting and white light to amplify the dancers at the exact moments needed. The lighting created an aura around the live performances that perfectly complemented each of the pieces and the messages behind them. 

The choice of music was modern, strong and very well balanced. No easy feat for the ensemble, achieving such great timing in every movement to music that was near impossible to count or break into beats. An almost constant tone was used, which really enhanced the breathtaking movement of the ensemble. 

The costuming, designed by Ella Lincoln, was simply perfect. So well matched to the dancers, their movements and the tone of the entire performance. Eye-catching colours that were not overbearing, along with tailored tops and pants that created a uniform feel to this very contemporary piece, were a perfect addition to the energy of each performer. The construct of the minimalist stage, the airy feel of the lighting, and the tones used in costumes made for an overall breathtaking spectacle. One could not help but be completely transfixed by the entire show, and between moments of sound, absolute silence fell over the audience, showing a complete surrender to the entertainment on stage. 

Choreography by Lauren Graham and Katina Olsen was transcendent. Such incredible attention was paid to detail, throughlines and storytelling. Highs and lows featured beautiful, constant movements that made for an incredibly well-balanced ensemble piece. Further, it was clear that showcasing the sheer strength and ability of these dancers was at the forefront of the choreographic intention, which created magical energy on stage. A true fusion of modern contemporary and the mixture of gentle movement and strength made for an impeccable piece that clearly had every ounce of love and experience poured into it. 

In so many dance pieces, it is easy for one dancer to catch the eye and somewhat pull focus. However, this piece really called for a complete fusion of dance, with an ensemble moving as one unit, almost as a breath. Such great direction and talent from performers really allowed for this piece to be a true ensemble number; the overall synergy between every single performer made the production a sight to behold. The detailed timing of the ensemble was incredible and the practice and rehearsal time that has clearly gone into it is commendable. 

Overall, these talented and innovative performers created an outstanding sense of weightlessness and breathtaking contemporary dance. The total immersion into each and every one of their movements allowed for the audience to become completely transfixed on each piece. The strength and technique of the dancers is a true testament to the ADC and some truly beautiful shapes, messages and feelings were portrayed.

‘Echo’ performed until Saturday, 28 August 2021 at The Judith Wright Centre. For more information about the Australasian Dance Collective, visit their website.

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