Propel (the next step), presented by Expressions Dance Company (EDC) is a double-bill program showcasing the developing works of emerging choreographers Liesel Zink and Lucas Jervies. The brief for the choreographers was to “create a brand new work that will propel you into the spotlight”.
Propel is the second stage of EDC’s developmental platform in which emerging independent choreographers create a 30-minute new work with the full support of a professional company, including the production elements of set, costume and stage design, in a theatre setting.
The first stage LaunchPad, is staged in a studio setting where emerging choreographers create and present a 10-min duet, with out the production values of stage setting, lighting, and often costuming.
The first piece presented was Synapse, in which Zink explored the idea of energy transfer and how that impacts upon collective human behaviour.
It started off more like a movement piece rather than the typical ‘dance’ you would expect, with movement of an individual sparking a response from one or more of the other members in the ensemble. What was lovely to see was that all seven of the ensemble were true dancer/actors who had characters and emotions that triggered the responses.
The seven talented dancers in the ensemble were Michelle Barnett, Benjamin Chapman, Elise May, Rhiannon McLean, Robert McMillan, Samantha Mitchell & Jack Ziesing.
The setting was simple with the use of a few chairs and a long flat pathway, which towards the end of the piece came apart like a jigsaw in which the characters created their own path. This was a surprising and clever use of the set. The soundscape for the piece was created by Mike Willmett, from the Triple J Unearthed band My Fiction.
The second piece in Propel, was Lucas Jervies’ work Apples and Eve, which explored the idea of gender equality and misogyny in today’s society.
This work had more of a story line along with plenty of comedy and pathos, drawing inspiration from the original sin story of The Bible. To create the work, Jervies collaborated with dramaturge Finn O’Branagáin, designer Libby McDonnel and lighting designer Ben Hughes, and of course the EDC dance ensemble. Special mention goes to McDonnel’s fun costume design with Mother Nature’s apple dress as a stunning centre piece.
The story telling of the dancer/actors really shone in this piece, with a strong performance by Elise May playing the role of Mother Nature. Jack Ziesing as Adam and Samantha Mitchell as Eve, injected an endearing sense of comedy and were both charming to watch.
It is wonderful to see a public offering of emerging choreographers work and hope to see more initiatives like this in the future, not only from EDC but the dance community as a whole.
Synapse and Apples and Eve was presented as part of the EDC initiative Propel from 28 February to 2 March at Bille Brown Studio at Queensland Theatre Company.
For further information on the Expressions Dance Company, visit their website: www.expressionsdancecompany.org.au