By Louise Pascale
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It feels wrong to start a review with a cliché but I am really struggling with how best to describe Moments without it. So here goes, Moments had moments.
This original dance and physical theatre piece aims to explore significant moments we experience throughout our lives and how they impact us. We have party, love, lust, lazy, work, awkward, breakup, death, body image, anxiety and me too to name some of them.
Some of these moments were infectious. Love was done beautifully with choreography and acting. It was beautifully orchestrated and the dancers were well matched to make this piece really moving. Then there was lust that was seductive and raw.
What then followed was break-up which was a missed opportunity.
Anyone who has lost a love knows this brings grief. This is where the dark and shade could really have made this work more impactful. Instead of developing the choreography to move the audience in the opposite direction of love we were given a wailing dancer on the floor which only made us laugh.
This was where I felt that Moments played in to some superficial emotions rather than tackle the tough feelings we go through. But having said that, body image and death moved me deeply.
Watching the dance around body image and hearing the dancers talk about how they feel about their bodies was affecting. As with death where there was the grieving dancing with a ghost of a loved past. This was the highlight for me. I was touched and moved. But again, these were just moments.
As an overall piece Moments was not held together with an overarching fluidity but broken up in to separate dances. Despite being called Moments, segmenting the dance and not allowing them to seamlessly connect detracted this from what it could be.
I noticed in the shows description Moments is led by choreographer Madeline Pratt. While the choreography was strong the work could benefit from a Director to help mesh it together. It would also help the dancers work with their prop. Chalk is used to write on the stage and is incorporated in to the choreography. However at times it was an awkward distraction that saw dancers fumbling along.
Also the six dancers were skilled at varying degrees. While this makes the work more authentic it does mean your attention drifts and some dancers can blend in to the background.
Finally, when it comes to mental health the only relatable moment was anxiety. It was one of the pieces that could have been stronger and longer. Yet it felt light and superficial. I don’t feel it added anything to the discussion around mental health and was another missed opportunity. The biggest problem we have around de-stigmatising mental health is not being strong enough to deep dive in to what a lived experience is like. This for me was what happened here.
For a group of young dancers there is talent here but despite this being the fourth season I can not help but feel it was still underdeveloped. While the choreography was strong it lacked Direction which kept Moments as segmented dances rather than an emotional journey.
mindshare will be posting reviews of shows with mental health themes and content on our blog and social media channels throughout Adelaide Fringe. Stay tuned for more reflections from contributors living with mental health challenges and/or working in the sector.