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Author: Dr Linda Ashley

Date: August 7, 2014

Undertide, by NZ/USA Minnesota-based directors of the BodyCartography Project Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad, is a sepia study of dynamic sustainment and a sustained study of intense confinement. Beginning as a film (director Alyx Duncan), seven dancers communally jostle for position within the confines of a box, viscerally. Bodies ripple, nerves jitter and energy flows successively like the blood within. A gory filmic moment reveals the viscera; the audience make uncomfortable noises.  Morphing into real time, dancers slowly leave the box only to cling to each other as the empty box spins. Magic and trickery? Returning to the confines of the cube brings reversal and echoes through time. Ending with the dancers return to real time, planetary spinning leaves us in calm, contemplative absorption.

The score by Claire Cowan cradles the dance, showing off the minutiae of the movements, as music that is good for dance should do. It is hollow, deep, squelchy, lunar and evokes the steady flow of body and ocean fluids that we see in the dancers’ bodies.