Improvisation within a carefully structured framework became a mesmerising play between three dancers, a visual artist and a composer. Sketch was conceived and choreographed by Carl Sciberras with Flatline co-director and visual artist Todd Fuller. Flatline’s aim is to “interrogate the spaces between different artforms and modes of performance, and this experience is essentially an experiment in the gaps.” Composer Mitchell Mollison and dancers Rosslyn Wythes and Katina Olsen completed the ensemble of five performers.
The performance begins with a blank white backdrop and stage floor. White body costumes extend the theme of tabula rasa or the original blank canvas. A dancer stands stationary at one side and a giant hand-held pencil is projected and begins to sketch his outline on his body. It moves to the canvas and extends in an upward curve. The dancer responds with an upward movement of his arm and sound begins to follow. Gradually, their engagement extends .Sometimes the artist seems to provoke the movement, another time the dancer leads the line drawn and at another time the sound prompts line and movement.
As the page of slow and hasty lines and movements comes to an end, the artist seated to the left front of the stage, changes to electronic media. A wiggly line appears across the floor and climbs the backdrop alongside the second dancer. It thickens and begins to turn red. Another dancer appears and mauve lines begin to streak across the canvas. Lines and movement increase, more colour appears and sound rises and falls. The dancers roll and extend their bodies, curving, twisting, reaching – sometimes in unison, sometimes solo, exploring space in harmony with sound and colourful line.
Suddenly, collections of lines and patterns which seem to have congealed into independent entities, begin to expand and contract, spin, intertwine and recede into the distance. The pace becomes more frantic, driven by the urgency of waves crashing on shore and then gradually slows and comes almost to rest.
A pause and then the final movement of this symphony reverts to the neutral colours of the first. Original images captured from the first scenes then interweave with others previously recorded on a bleached open sandy beach. The gentle tide surges forward and draws back, the sound calms and we are left delighted by the sensuous pleasures of imaginative exploration.
Sketch was performed at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, September 11 to 13, as part of a presentation of new works by members of Dance Makers Collective. The two other works were Safe Hands, choreographed and performed by Miranda Wheen, and Between Two and Zero, choreographed and performed by Miranda Wheen and Matt Cornell. For more information click Form Dance. Photos by Anya Mckee.
For a review by Vicki Van Hout, click on FORM Dance Projects, and by Jill Sykes, click Sydney Morning Herald. For more comment on Sketch, click Sharne Wolff’s review A Dance for Paul Klee/Studies in Motion.