Perth Festival: Haze

Photo:  Huimin Li
Photo: Huimin Li

The Beijing Dance Company under choreographer Wang Yuanyuan, sets out to explore some tough subject matter in their production of Haze.

The troupe of fourteen dancers –  Cai Tieming, Feng Linshu, Gao Jing, Kan Wen-lan, Li Cai, Sun Jing, Wang Hao, Wei Tushan, Wu Shanshan, Wu Yan, Xie Ming, Yu Sitan, Ahang Qiang and Zheng Jie  –  perform on a tightly strung trampoline floor.  This allows the dancers’ bodies to float softly to the floor, as well as bounce high into the air. As the dancers perform, the audience is left in awe of the strength and agility required to accomplish the jumps and turns demanded by the choreography.

The performance is divided into three chapters, Light, City and Shore. Light  has  the dancers performing on a stage full of suspended lights, as they slowly arabesque on the trampoline floor making it look easy.  Dancers balance roll and fall to the floor as they perform to music by Górecki.

In City their movements create the sense of people lost, without direction, desperately trying to find their way around an industrialised city. Movements become fast and slick, reminicent of cars flying past on the freeway. Dancers group to bounce on an area of the mat and are thrown out of time as the bounce of each dancer makes it impossible to stay in unison on the trampoline surface. So quick were the frantic movements at times, that dancers at the front of the stage suddenly re-appeared at the rear. As dancers tip toed across the stage like tight rope walkers, they reminded the audience of the walk the world is currently doing economically, environmentally and socially.

Shore sees the dancers return to the slow, deliberate, peaceful movements, falling to the surface and jeteing over fellow dancers lying on the stage.

There are no flashing lights, bright costumes, elaborate sets or props to distract the audience.  This troupe of dancers rely solely on the athleticism of their bodies to create images and movements to evoke thoughts and images; and they are totally mesmerising. They effortlessly succeed in entertaining their audience whilst raising important questions in our minds.

The Beijing Dance Theatre achieves its aim of exploring some tough questions in an original and athletic dance piece.

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