Friday, November 25, 2011
Bach Suites, or the review that wasn't
Helen Herbertson is one of the most interesting dance makers in Melbourne. She is one of the few who has managed to sustain a career past the ripe old age of forty-something. Along with Shelley Lasica, who also regularly makes work independently of the masthead companies, Herbertson and her regular collaborator Ben Cobham have made interesting and challenging new work at infrequent intervals over the last few years, perhaps it’s now even a decade?
The last work of theirs I saw, Sunstruck, was a beautifully conceived experience, originally staged in a cavernous warehouse in the Docklands. The live string music which surrounded and circled the audience in utter darkness was a highlight, as was the incredible lighting, which gave the piece an atmosphere worthy of its name.
In the centre of this beautiful construct was some physical performance by Trevor Patrick and Nick Somerville, which didn’t resonate for me at the time, but the world that they inhabited was something else.
It was this spine-tingling encounter that I was hoping to re-live through Bach Suites. Performed by the charismatic choreographer-dancer Michelle Heaven and John Salisbury (who I’ve not seen perform before) and cellists from the Australian National Academy of Music, it has all the ingredients of a Herbertson-Cobham masterpiece.
Sadly for me, it was not to be.
The thunderstorms and lightning which have become regular visitors to Melbourne this spring wrought some small havoc on my train line, causing a fatal delay. And so, despite my careful planning, allowing plenty of time to reach the venue, I was too late by mere minutes, locked out by the special effects of Herberston and Cobham’s rich imaginations.
So now, it will be only in my imagination, and in the words of others, that this meeting of dance, live music and theatrical wizardry exists. Maybe, if I’m very lucky, it will be presented again, one day. The sold out season would suggest that there is certainly an audience for it, especially unlucky punters such as myself.
For further, more descriptive reading, try these reviews by Jordan Beth Vincent and Eamonn Kelly.
Posted by Chloe Smethurst