Remnants Found In You
Remnant Dance @ Nexus Cabaret
7:00pm, Tue 19 Feb 2013
Fringe contemporary dance from Western Australia on a Tuesday night may seem like a pretty iffy proposition to some, but the pre-sales list for Remnants Found In You was pleasingly long, and there’d obviously been more-than-a-few walk-ins as well: Nexus Cabaret was positively humming when I arrived, with the bulk of the floor seating already occupied. I wound up snaffling one of the cocktail tables along the wall; a great vantage point, to be sure, but offering somewhat restricted views of the back of the stage (as I later discovered).
The first of three pieces, O-Sea, was a curious construction featuring six dancers who drift on- and off-stage throughout, making it feel like a multi-chapter composition. Some movements were almost balletic in nature before descending into chaotic combative grapples, but the choreography was cramped by the left-hand side of the stage. That didn’t prevent some great lines appearing from nowhere, but the movements only felt like they co-existed with the music (a largely fractured, piano-based score), rather than working with it. The piece evolves to a relatively upbeat ending, though.
Shade: less, despite the mournful (and slightly ominous) cello-based opening, was a much more enjoyable piece. With the ensemble reduced to three, I initially thought it was merely going to be a collection of solo pieces with short transitions… but it became a much more involved piece, with plenty of interaction and deft, angular movements. Unfortunately, some of the performance was pushed to the back of the stage, obscured from my sight; what I did see was really enjoyable, though.
The final piece, Spring, somehow managed to conjure up the image of a quartet of beautiful sisters frolicking in the garden of an Elizabethan English manor – though I’ve no idea why. Again, the dancers were constantly dropping off- and on-stage, but the constant change-ups failed to hold my interest… though the conclusion to the piece was genuinely exciting.
The production values of Remnants Found In You are pretty high: from the great costumes, to the presence of a string quartet in Spring, to the gorgeous programme and thoughtful questionnaire. But there was something that just didn’t feel right about much of the dance itself; it’s almost as if the choreography in the bookending pieces constricted the dancers so much that they appeared to be performing in someone else’s bodies… and, unfortunately, the quality of the second piece didn’t manage to lift my overall opinion of the event.