In a potentially attractive building (Wellington’s Frederick Street Light and Sound Society) surrounded by piles of ruble something worthwhile was being created. It was windy, cold and dark.

Nevertheless, the dancers at S.A.M.P.L.E. #2 (Some Artists Making Performance Laboratory Experiments) were keen and ready to appease the flippant desires of an excitable market and perform one-minute dances (outside in three cases) requested and paid for ($1) by audience members. This was Alana Yee’s work; dance as a product, dance as a cheap product. Like the fast food of the art world; cheap, quick, doesn’t require much commitment and not very satisfying. (A compliment there maybe?) Or a bit like a YouTube clip performed live. Dance for a young, obese and distracted generation.

Bodily ownership was then returned to dancers Alana Yee, Livia Macphedran and Danielle Lindsay. A three-way toying occurred on multiple levels as they discussed being with and away. A man (Aidan Grealish) with a vacuum cleaner then interjected and it was three quiet women against a brash noise maker. The man was silenced.

As a nice segue, Naomi Lamb transported us through film to a silent world, an underwater cave. Lamb showed us a place in which humans are not meant to occupy but do. Something was not quite right, eerie. But I didn’t want to leave. It was mesmerising and hypnotic.

By this time people were getting pretty into this whole SAMPLE gig. Sure enough, soon someone was dancing on the table. However, taken out of its trashy context in Courtenay Place, table dancing in Frederick Street is worth watching. Sasha (Perfect) waltzed (pun-intended) slowly around the wooden structure under an intense white light. The movement was careful which heightened the precariousness of the action; all eyes were nervously fixed on the woman in the light. (As an addition, I was sitting within the path of the light. Was I too part of the performance?)

Lastly, Chris Prosser, partially concealed among the rafters, with his violin commanded Emma Copper-Smith to dance. An eclectic, experimental technique on the violin garnered equally interesting movement (choreographer, Livia MacPhedran). Or was it the other way round? A battle occurred in which power shifted between dancer and musician. At times it was unclear and a stalemate was declared.

I think it is interesting to note that SAMPLE #2 took place in an old church building. It is in influential company. Of course, I refer to the Judson [Church] Dance Theatre, which produced revolutionaries Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer and Deborah Hay among others, and refreshed and redefined dance. The similarities between Judson Dance Theatre and SAMPLE reach further and with this I hope that SAMPLE will go from strength to strength. It could be something important.

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