Jade Erlandsen & Company @ AC Arts – Stables
7:00pm, Thu 3 Mar 2011
After Jade Erlandsen’s fantastic Out of the Dark back in 2009, I’ve reserved a space in my Schedule for any piece with her name on it… so I was really looking forward to Tie. That excitement heightened when I started reading through the info sheet to discover that Kate Skully was dancing in the piece, too – I’ve raved before about how much I enjoy her work.
So – I’ve taken my seat in the Stables, and it’s an odd space; very wide, and not much room for the audience. But the tiered benches fill out, and I’m surprised to find myself sitting next to some old friends of my brother – he a photographer, she a dancer – and we start chatting about the Fringe… as I am prone to do at this time of year. And then I’m even more surprised to discover that my Out of the Dark post was quoted in the blurb for Tie… which made me grin like a loon.
The opening short (which was to feature Emma Stokes) was not performed; instead, Jay Mullan’s short film from 2010’s Heavier Than Milk was screened on the back wall of the Stables. And whilst I was somewhat critical of the movie when I first saw it (citing the fact that I saw only fleeting glimpses of Jade’s dance within it), it was a much more positive experience this year.
Then came Tie itself… and it’s a very low-key opening, with Jade lazing in a beanbag in front of a TV, watching bad infomercials. But once the ad for Tie Sensation gets into her head, and she starts experimenting with the power of the Tie, things take off.
Starting as a solo, the other dancers (Jay Mullan, Kate Skully, Allison Wilton, and Adrianne Semmens) drift into and out of the dance… and it’s an incredibly dynamic performance, with plenty of movement and activity to absorb as they tussle their ties, combining leaps and slides, synchrony and individualism. In fact, Tie‘s only failing is that the wide staging allowed by the Stables made it difficult to track everything that was going on; but the quality of the work was such that you were always seeing something fantastic (the flip-side of that being the niggling realisation that you were probably missing some other bit of goodness).
The most inspiring memory of Tie was how purposeful it felt. Every action felt significant; every dancer appeared gleamingly polished and accomplished. It was a real treat to see so much joy and fun on the ensemble’s faces (oh, Kate and her cheeky grin… swoon) in a dance piece that was so wonderfully choreographed to a great selection of upbeat tunes. All that, and a sly wink at rampant consumerism, too…
Needless to say, I loved Tie. It’s pretty much exactly what I want from contemporary dance: fresh ideas and passion.