Nought presents as a blank canvas, the dancers’ bodies etching themselves gradually into its weave. The audience is left to find its own journey through the piece, either by following individual pathways or seeing the canvas as a whole.
Some bodies are prostrate, allowing subtle movements to infiltrate slowly, or else integrate purity of line with total release; others shred that canvas with frenetic movements.
This is contemporary dance without gimmicks. Integration of the dancers (costumed entirely in beige by local designer Catherine Ziersch) with the starkness of the set was reminiscent of American choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham’s work in its purity of form and presentation as a moving art work.
Nought is highly technical and very clean, stripped of emotion and presented as precisely as a mathematical equation. Adelaide choreographer Daniel Jaber is not afraid to allow silence and stillness their place in the choreography.
Jaber has made a smooth transition from dancer (he appeared in all of the Australian Dance Theatre’s earlier works) to choreographer by allowing his work to explore the very personal question of what a dancer actually is. The piece demonstrates the strength and vulnerabilities of the dancer – from Kimball Wong and Jessica Hesketh’s powerful pas de deux to the frenzied neurosis of Samantha Hines’ solo.
Nought is the first full-length work to be commissioned by ADT and promoted under the company’s banner. It’s a step away from its usual aesthetic and I applaud director Garry Stewart for giving fresh vision and voice a breathing space.
The final performance of Nought is at 8pm today in the Samstag Museum of Art.
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