Friday, 30 March 2012

Supermodern - Dance of Distraction

SUPERMODERN - DANCE OF DISTRACTION – now showing at Riverside Theatre Parramatta from 28th-31st March 2012

On a bare stage in plain clothing, four dancers hypnotically extend and contort their bodies with precision and poise to a backdrop of pulsating music and a fantastic lighting display.

They appear faceless and drowned out by their own movements as well as the trance-like musical accompaniment which surrounds them. Don’t you recognise them? They are us.

SuperModern – Dance of Distraction is the brainchild of experienced teacher, director and choreographer Anton, who together with Form Dance Projects has expertly arranged a performance that embodies life in our current, highly technological society, where people and words whiz by so furiously the lines between what is natural and what is human have become blurred.

The seed of Anton’s concept was planted when he found himself in a chaotic lifestyle, dependent on phones and emails and timetables. He recognised that the rapid change of society has pulled us in a thousand different directions.

The performance starts with an ascending, monotonic chant of “while this is going on, something else is going on”, prompting you to picture your own life and question if it bears resemblance to what is on display. The dancers rarely focus on each other and while they separate and each deal with the external struggles of what is being thrust at them, they are also working and moving as one in an attempt to the absurdity of being surrounded by so much technology.

Three notable aspects of the highly skilled performance highlighted the use of mobile phones, tablets and what I interpreted as Facebook. Combining break dancing, funk and contemporary dance we are forced to consider that our dependence on these gadgets and concepts are building barriers rather than opening doors.

The use of props in this performance is outstanding, especially when making a mockery of a person using a tablet and posting photos online. The props brought humour to the performance and when coupled with sounds and speech from call centres and computers the audience were laughing at the truth behind how silly we must look, sound and feel.

The original music score was composed by Jai Pyne, Nick Wales and Timothy Constable and reminded me of the eclectic bands and DJs featured on TripleJ. If there is an album to this performance I would definitely buy it. Both the music and lighting accentuated the performance and was in perfect keeping with Anton’s concept of “pondering the pace and speed in which we communicate and multi-task while living in close quarters”.

As this piece is only showing for another three days I strongly urge you to see it. If not to support the arts culture than to challenge yourself, your ideals and question how you are living in this modern world.

We may have endless access and opportunities to maintain our incredibly busy lifestyles, but what are we really giving up? Are we becoming the machines we so heavily rely on? Is this what it now means to be human?

Reviewed by Lana Hilton
Pictures by Maylei Hunt

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