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Keep Everything

Photography by Jeff Busby

Performance Space and Mobile States present Chunky Move’s KEEP EVERYTHING at Carriageworks, Redfern, Sydney. 13 August – 16 August.

Chunky Move is a Melbourne based contemporary dance company lead by Anouk van Dijk. KEEP EVERYTHING was part of the 2013 Next Move commission, and is a new work by Director and Choreographer, Antony Hamilton.

The program notes tells us that:

this work has been developed intuitively with little editing and the result is a stream of consciousness style of dance which shows that, sometimes, it’s important to keep everything.

Or, arguably, not. Three dancers, Benjamin Hancock, Lauren Langlois and Alisdair Macindoe, heroically and inventively blend spoken word, improvised movement and repetition for nearly an hour duration, to the thumping score by Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes. The visual aesthetic is enhanced with voluminous theatre smoke, and the lighting design of Benjamin Cisterne, and a simple AV Design of synchronised lights on a white floor by Robin Fox.

Supposedly, KEEP EVERYTHING, “traces human development from primates to robots and back again.” It may do, if one was able to care. Certainly, the athleticism and the concentrated synchronisation of the dancers is impressive. But, essentially, the endurance feat was what amazed me and caused me to applaud. The work itself was too extended, repetitive and, perhaps, too respectful in presenting everybody’s contribution to the task. While being polite to the artists, it was accumulatively tiresome for the audience – having to watch the installation light show on the clouds of theatre smoke, of the AV lights, synchronised to the sound beats became more than a trifle boring, too soon, the dancers, presumably, resting/catching breath, in the shrouded background. With an edit of some 10-15 minutes this work might capture the imagination, but in this form it allows a restless mind to move on to other things – like, for instance, how cold the auditorium was.

KEEP EVERYTHING, a striking physical feat from the dancers, over-wrapped in displayed design elements.