Q Theatre Loft
TUESDAY 21st June
Concept, Creation and Choreographic Direction: Natalie Maria Clark
“Recurrent conversations with fellow twenty-somethings have led to the creation of this work. We are bold. We are capable. But we are also disempowered by fear.”
Mulit-talented artist Natalie Maria Clark has done an excellent job of creating, presenting and promoting her latest full-length work, Everything Anyone Ever Wanted. A Unitec Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts graduate, Clark is familiar with some of New Zealand’s most influential and current choreographers. This experience gives her the skill to move between the different facets of preparing a contemporary dance work with confidence.
In Q Theatre’s Loft, the audience facing has been reversed, giving us a strikingly apt view of wintery Queen Street, complete with curious passers-by who occasionally notice the dancers performing on the second floor. Other elements of the set include a ladder-like trail of suspended tubes, and slightly reflected plastic panels. Both of these set pieces promise exploration or referencing, which doesn’t quite come to fruition.
There are many aspects of the work that will be familiar to supporters of Unitec and their graduates. A fusion of live and recorded voice, song, breath, music, distorted sound, and silence, effectively divide the hour-plus long show. Repetition of spoken phrases, paired with gesture-based hand movements are effective and provoke some laughter from the audience. What I tend to refer to as ‘Helping Hands’, (named after the iconic scene from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth) are a signature of choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull’s recent works, and are evident, if less developed, in Everything Anyone Ever Wanted.
The four dancers, Sofia McIntyre, Benjamin Mitchell, Emmanuel Reynaud and Rosa Strati perform Clark’s work with an admirable blend of care and attack. As visual performers, they are highly effective in the Loft’s small space. Their eye contact and expression are both intelligent and beautifully communicative. The opening jump sequence has a lot of promise, but unison became an issue here. Occasionally more technical steps, such as double turns, lacked control and synchronicity. One of the most original and fascinating sections of movements was the series of embraces and turns that was developed just enough without being overused – it was my favourite part of the work.
Overall, Clark’s choreography felt well-structured, and with a tangible and topical theme. For me, some moments needed editing, and aspects of the concept explored in the promotional trailer lost their potency in the finished product. Everything Anyone Ever Wanted is a dance work that promises to grow more succinct and polished over time.
cred: Blair McTaggart