Hypnotic work is one out of the box

Author: Bernadette Rae

Source: New Zealand Herald

5:00 AM Friday Aug 8, 2014

The opening work in this most mesmerising of programmes begins with a filmed section projected on to a large wooden cube which contains and catapults the dancers into action for the whole of the show’s duration.

Choreographed by Americans Olive Beiringa and Otto Ramstad of the BodyCartography Project, whose long-term interest is an exploration of the spaces we inhabit, both internal and external, Undertide presents a tableau of some seven bodies in an evolving tangle of pale limbs, beige undergarments and impassive faces.

It’s like a Grecian frieze come to gradual life, each arrangement revealing more of the inner story. The pace is hypnotic, so the sudden appearance of a dark object on an exposed belly and its slow excavation by worm-like fingers is a shock.

The live section of the work arrives, pale body by pale body, to create another sculpted tangle on a shadowy stage. The clever cube spins at increasing speed and the dancers join its illumination one by one to continue their somatic conversation: Tess Connell, Georgie Goater, Alisha McLennan, Zildjian Robinson and Adrian Smith, with understudies Aloalii Tapyu and Monique Westerdaal providing the momentum. 

Suzanne Cowan and Renee Ball perform in the filmed sequence only. The intriguing soundtrack is by Claire Cowan. Alyx Duncan directed the filming.