Performance: Debut by MOMENTUM DANCE a joyous occasion on multiple levels . . .

Performance: Debut by MOMENTUM DANCE a joyous occasion on multiple levels . . .

Barry Strickland has been freelancing as an independent consultant within the arts, culture, heritage and tourism arenas since 2000 and gives us his take on the recent performance of Unstoppable by Momentum Dance.

What do you get when you bring together 15 dancers “of a certain age” and three choreographers? Well, something unstoppable.

Indeed, UNSTOPPABLE is the title of this triple-bill program, commencing with Daryl Brandwood’s SUBSIDED VORTICES, a work of intricate, beguiling and at times dazzling choreographic language. Beautifully danced by a company of 15, certain elements reminded me of both Balanchine and Fos…se but it is very much a Brandwood original. I’m hoping we’ll be seeing more works from him in the coming years, having had a stellar career as one of Australia’s most acclaimed dancers.

Next came Phillippa Clarke’s IN THE BLOOD, cleverly and affectingly drawing upon the individual ‘movement memories’ of each dancer which, in turn, ‘infect’ the other dancers, thus passing on a choreographic language. As one of Australia’s most admired contemporary dance artists and teachers, it’s wonderful to see Clarke draw upon the experience of a diverse group of dancers and, in doing so, weave magic.

The final work, A MEMO, is by Israel’s Jin Plotkin and is seen through the eyes of a young girl who appears to be in the protective embrace of her extended family. Choreographically it is deceptively complex, at times ‘loose’ in its language, at others quite formal. The interactions and inter-weavings were handled with warmth and sensitivity by the dancers, and the final moments were a fitting end to this debut by Momentum Dance.

The three works were linked with filmed ‘to camera’ interviews with each of the dancers, each starting by the dancer stating their name and age. This was a revealing, entertaining and, at times, very funny way of introducing members of this new collective of dance artists.

While it is unfair to single out any of the dancers, I must say how special it was for me to see Ronnie van den Berg back on stage. He was joined by Barbara Adler, Cathy Antulov, Phillippa Clarke, Liz Cornish, Julie Doyle, Kim Gibson, Lisa Hinton, Imelda King, Mike Makossa, Toni Mason, Jess Myles, Jacqui Otago, Claire Sullivan, Cherylyn Vickery, Cheryl Wolfe and Annie Sullivan.

This debut performance was staged at Prendiville College’s excellent Redmond Theatre and I am very much hoping these three new works will be given a more extensive season by Momentum Dance in the near future.

Bravo to all involved!

– Barry Strickland