Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Treasure, White Fan and Xing

Red Span Dance Company

Dancehouse, Melbourne

6 September, 2008

Reviewer: Jordan Beth Vincent

The Red Span Dance Company merges traditional Chinese with contemporary Western dance in its three works, The Treasure, White Fan and Xing, all choreographed by Feng Feng Wang. In each piece, the beauty is in the detail-- the flutter of a fan, the gentle intertwining of limbs, or the framing of bodies in windows of light.

The Treasure gives an intimate portrait of a relationship beginning with the wonderment and discovery of new love. Two dancers (Nick Sommerville and Suhali Ahmad Kamil) emerge from a cocoon of dark fabric into a circle of light. In one marvellously intimate moment, the tips of the dancers’ middle fingers remain connected as their bodies sway and arc through the air. Frustration and playfulness are simultaneously explored as Kamil leaps at Sommerville, only to be caught midair in a tangle of legs and borne gently to the ground. The two dancers eventually find solace in one another’s arms, rotating on the spot, captured in a perfect moment of understanding.

White Fan, a solo piece performed by Wang, explores traditional Chinese fan work within the context of contemporary dance. Wang brandishes her fan as she moves with absolute control and precision across the stage.

The third work, Xing, looks to the five traditional Chinese elements of Taoism: wood, fire, earth, water and metal. Although it feels overlong, there are some wonderful moments such as when the three women slowly roll and sway, cradling the air around their bodies. In another moment, the two men, (Sommerville and Tony Ng) slide, tumble and fall along a slim corridor of light, their casually crossed arms belying the energetic movement of their lower bodies.

Wang creates a meditative environment on stage across the three works. The focus of the dancers is reflective and their movement gentle. The result is beautifully crafted and mesmerizing.

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