More or Less Concrete – challenging and entertaining

more-or-less-concreteMore or Less Concrete featuring Sophia Cowen, Tim Darbyshire and Matthew Day was a sensory experience that invoked a whole gamut of imagery, challenged and entertained.

The audience sat down for the performance and put on their headphones. The lights come up dimly and we can see the dancers as a shape in the distance. The texture of their blue hazmat type suits and the shape they had made with their bodies in the distance invoked my first image; a big fly. With More or Less Concrete, as with most contemporary dance pieces, I believe each audience member has a different experience as they process the movements and let their imaginations decipher them.

A friend recently said to me that the very nature of contemporary dance pushes the boundaries of what we do and don’t call dance. What I saw at More or Less Concrete felt to me very much like an exploration of breath, movement and the intentions behind movements. This was enhanced by how little we saw the dancers faces. This made the dancers movements appear much more primal and took away the ability to express their intentions through their facial expressions.

As their heads appeared disembodied for most of the piece the audience was able to see the body transformed into something quite other worldly. I marveled at the things I saw in my minds eye; at one point the dancers appeared to me as if they were maggots crawling, then a wind up toy going crazy, and then a gently churning ocean.

I laughed as the dancers rocked, folded in half, bottoms up with their arms reaching above them then flopping to the floor. There was such comedy in the reach and fail of their limbs. I was startled when the first dancer fell with a smash after so much silence. I was fascinated as we heard the dancers huffing and saw how they sychronised through their collective breath. I smiled, as I envisaged from the dancers scene and their sounds, three old men sitting on a park bench wheezing, straining and then finally snoring.  At the end of the piece I felt challenged as the lights came up on the audience and the dancers faces were revealed in such close proximity to us moving like I imagine clothes bustle in a dryer.

Watching More or Less Concrete I was reminded just how expressive bodies can be. There are so many reasons to move; with pain, need or play, and it’s all very beautiful to watch. Thanks to Arts House and Tim Darbyshire for this explorative piece.


Emily Paddon-Brown

Emily trained at NASDA prior to gaining a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre from WAAPA. After graduating she debuted in Guys & Dolls where she had the blessing to understudy the role of Sarah Brown played by Lisa McCune. Emily then travelled to Korea with Jekyll & Hyde understudying the lead role Emma and Lady Beaconsfield. On screen Emily has been a lead in the feature films Only the Young Die Good and The Last of the Living. She has also acted in many short and corporate films including The Melbourne Appreciation Society. Emily has also worked as a producer, director, choreographer, teacher, stage manager and dance captain. For more info visit

Emily Paddon-Brown

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