Claire Boughey | On 04, Oct 2017
What do you get when two of Australia’s best choreographers join forces with an Indonesian music duo to create a dance work?
The Helpmann Award winning ‘Attractor’.
For four nights only, the cast of eight dancers and two musicians will hit the stage at the Brisbane Powerhouse to bring audiences what has been described as a “ritual for the non-believers”. Inspired by the ecstatic and trancelike state of ritualistic traditional Indonesian dance, Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek have developed a piece that can only be described as entirely encapsulating.
The music, performed live by Senyawa, brings Brisbane audiences an interesting fusion of traditional Indonesian music and heavy metal vocals. Hand-made electrified stringed instruments are used to create the base of the music, whilst operatic melodies and vocal manipulation give the piece pitch, depth and chaos. Senyawa says that as young teenagers they were always listening to traditional music with a background of chaos, which is why they make their music the way they do… with a fusion.
The choreography of the work was very much inspired by the music, with the dancers visibly embodying the beat and emotion of Senyawa’s sound. Gideon described the transformation of the dancers on stage as a euphoric and physical release, as exhaustion takes over their body and they allow the music to take control of their movement.
In order to create the sense of freedom and chaos conveyed by the piece, the choreographers decided to incorporate elements of improvisation- in both the movement and music. Lucy says that whilst this means no performance is ever the same, the musicians and dancers are given quite specific tasks to work within.
The main differentiating factor of ‘Attractor’ from other dance works is its audience participation. During each performance, 20 unrehearsed audience members join the performers on stage. Participants on the night praised the choreographers’, with most audience participants saying they felt at ease and safe whilst on stage. Audience members were fitted with an ear piece and were guided through the dance as it unfolded on stage.
‘Attractor’ was unlike anything I have ever experienced before in a theatre, and should be applauded for its innovative style and eclectic movement. It’s not long before the Brisbane Festival wraps up… so make sure you visit the website to see what else is on offer.
Images from the Brisbane Festival Website