A lone dancer, stares helplessly yet anxiously scrutinises her own reflected self in a semi circular wall of mirrors on stage. She writhes and contorts her body as if in agony and pain, one minute fanatically smiling, the next, silently screaming—this ongoing conflict sets the tone for Chunky Move’s latest production 247 Days.
Led by artistic director Anouk van Dijk, her second major work for the company since her appointment last year. The title itself, a nod to the number of days since van Dijk’s arrival in Australia to the opening night of the show.
Inspired by her new surroundings and fresh view of the world, van Dijk became fascinated by the complex emotions and the many facets of ourselves we keep hidden from others. Manifesting in 247 Days, the work delves into a darker and private world, a place fueled by our innermost passions, desires, fears and conflicts.
Addressing relevant issues which have affected each and every one of us at some stage in our lives, the themes range from our obsession with body image to sexual orientation, pressures of work, life, and relationships to how we are viewed in the eyes of others. It is these fleeting yet powerful moments that take center stage in 247 Days, exposing a private world that is as real and meaningful—one which we so carefully choose to guard and conceal.
Together the dancers share a powerful synergy that resonates throughout the performance–from the heartfelt and longing exchange between the three male dancers to the energetic group choreography. The individual is also given prominence throughout the work, expressed through the unique point of view of each of the six dancers. Channeling their angst and frustration through contorted and strained choreography, these acute moments are contrasted intermediately with mesmerizing displays of movement, agility and group dynamic.
Michael Harkin’s incredible mirrored set allows the dancers to constantly shift and transform the stage, providing an infinite and captivating backdrop to the story. Through differing mirroring angles, the dancers can appear as a singular entity or cast as multiples, at once concealed yet exposed in visual trickery.
247 Days is now showing at the Merlyn Theatre, The Malthouse until 23 March.
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