[2012115] Angels’ Eyes

[2012115] Angels’ Eyes

Melbourne Dance Theatre @ Holden Street Theatres – The Studio

7:30pm, Sat 10 Mar 2012

I scooted from The Arch into The Studio, sneaking in as the last admitted punter – I’d warned the wonderful Holden Street staff that I had a very quick changeover from Squidboy, and received a nod, a smile, and a “we weren’t starting without you” as I scooted to my seat. Settling in, I grinned inwardly for the second time today, feeling like I’d managed to squeeze in another show that common sense dictated wouldn’t be possible.

Melbourne Dance Theatre have brought a fair contingent of dancers over for this performance – eleven, according to the programme – and the opening piece of Angels’ Eyes is certainly impressive: waves of dancers in tight lines push forward, angled towards the audience. There’s a hint of congestion in the dance on the left-hand side of the stage – just like MDT’s Heroes last year – that suggests a wider space may have been preferable, but it’s still an exciting start.

But then comes a few spots of circus antics, and I’m a bit… well, confused. One dancer starts running around making pew-pew-pew noises, and I’m perplexed. I take a moment to check the programme for the intent of the piece, and manage to learn that Angels’ Eyes consists of thirteen pieces, intended to convey a view of the world through the eyes of children with autism… okay, that all sorta makes sense then. A little context is a marvellous thing sometimes.

There’s pieces where “parents” appear to be dancing together, with their movements giving off a tangible sense of lament. There’s extended periods of giggling girls. There’s a bizarre swimming sequence. And it’s all really well performed, and most of the dance is really quite lively and bouncy, with lots of action; most of the thirteen pieces are quite enjoyable.

But there didn’t really feel like there was a narrative thread – or, indeed, any connection at all (save the performers) – between the pieces. And, whilst Two Points of Reality (the dance piece I’d seen in the same venue earlier in the day) had pieces that communicated the emotions of the characters, Angels’ Eyes (with the exception of the aforementioned “parents’ dance”) just seemed to take fragments of ideas and use them as a basis for the choreography.

And, as I mentioned before, the dancing itself is enjoyable – but I felt like I was being held at a distance from the source material, and that left me feeling that the experience was a little hollow, certainly compared to Heroes last year. That’s a bit of a shame, but not enough to turn me off MDT; they’ll still be getting my custom in the future.

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