The blurb for the show read as follows:
Dust takes a deep and daring dive into how – through the lottery of birth – we inherit the architecture of restriction and opportunity. How do we agitate and illuminate the engineering of our own existence?
As is my wont, I chose not to read too much prior to the show in order to see what storytelling the performers presented. And my reading was along those lines, but somewhat of a more futuristic bent.
There was a flavour of The Sims to the piece. The dancers worked in a choreography that was reminiscent of robots or possessed creatures, it was creepily effective, heads and limbs askew, almost aggressively presenting an internal animosity, a struggle between self and a rogue body. I got a very Black Mirror kind-of feel to the show. We are far in the future, where humans are no longer the vividly conscious creatures that we presently know, but instead our presence is buried deeply. But not so deeply that our fleshy selves can be completely subsumed. When aroused, the bodies of these – sub-humans – becomes, wild and taut and uncontrollable.
Each of the dancers performed spectacularly, and two really stood out for me. The opening performance of Ashley McLellan was spectacularly disturbing and a fitting start to the piece, juxtaposed by the perfectly in-sync ensemble work on the far side of the stage. A soft start to her solo set the scene for an increasingly disturbed performance, a beautifully unusual way of moving. A second highlight solo was that of Georgia Rudd, who seemingly was at war with her own body, lust and madness vying for control of her body. That said, each of the performers peppered the work with eye-catching movement and their stage presence was masterful, for this new dance fan.
The set was a crazily ambitious room divider built by Liminal Spaces – they seem to be everywhere these days! The set devolved into a large building blocks through which new sets were made time and again. Unfortunately, like a child with a favourite toy, I felt these scene changes were made just one time to many. The length of time it took for each scene change to meant that some of the solos felt like cover-ups, rather than character explorations. It’s really the only fault in what was a really beautiful work.
The soundtrack was beautifully complementary, with exquisite live violin by Canadian musician Jessica Moss, who accompanied the original score for the show composed by Alisdair Macindoe. I honestly forget a few times that the music had live accompianment, which is testament to how absorbed in the show I was.
The inertia of the group pieces was mesmerising. The startled eyes of those that were not caught up in the frenzy of various salutations. A bonus point for the faces that were blankly vacant, yet full of subtlety – a very tricky refinement to achieve. Congratulations to the cast for an excellent production. DanceNorth’s reputation precedes them, and I was not left disappointed.
Nadia Jade saw Dust on Saturday 22nd September as part of Brisbane Festival 2018.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½
Artistic Director Kyle Page
Associate Artistic Director Amber Haines
Dramaturg Gideon Obarzanek
Dancer Jenni Large
Dancer Ashley McLellan
Dancer Mason Kelly
Dancer Georgia Rudd
Dancer Felix Sampson
Dancer Samantha Hines
Dancer Jack Zeising
Composer and Musician Jessica Moss
Set Design Liminal Spaces
Lighting Design Niklas Pajanti
Costumes Harriet Oxley