Australian Dance Theater's HELD
Japan … September 29, 2006
Embodying the dynamic tension between the action of Garry Stewart’s ballistic choreography and its “fixed” capture by photographer Lois Greenfield, HELD juxtaposes solidity with liquidity, heaviness with lightness, stillness with flow, clarity with illusion in an extraordinary live performance.
Using electronic strobes to photograph the explosions and propulsions of Garry’s signature kamikaze style, Lois will create the illusion of weightlessness by freezing these dynamic moments at 1/2000 of a second, instantly revealing to the audience a moment that exists beneath the threshold of perception.
Developed conceptually in collaboration with Canadian Media Artist Henry Jesionka, this is the first time the inner processes of photography will be “dramatized” in the context of a choreographed dance piece. The performance touches on the the materials, methods and optics of photography and its time-altering alchemy. By stopping time a split second becomes an eternity.
Ironically, freezing a split second gives the movement more solidity than it had as a fleeting gesture of dance. We know that nothing in the real world can exist in two dimensions, yet photographs seduce us in believing that it is a valid representation of reality. In HELD, image and performance collide on a visually equal playing field.
The breath-taking images that Lois shoots on stage appear live on two large video screens, taking the audience even further into the choreography. The music is by Darrin Verhagen.
New York based Lois Greenfield is the world’s most important dance photographer. Working with the cream of American dancers over the past 20 years, her iconic images have completely redefined the possibilities of capturing the dancing body.
“All these years I’ve been distilling and refining individual moments culled from improvisational studio sessions. HELD takes me back to my roots- ten years in the trenches as a photojournalist shooting dress rehearsals,” says Lois. “By incorporating my abstracted and composed imagery back into the flow of choreography (from which of course all movement comes from) allows me to examine the relationship of the photo to the dance. It completes the cycle, like throwing a caught fish back in the ocean and watching it swim.”
Since 1999 Artistic Director Garry Stewart has taken ADT on a wildly distinct turn. His extraordinary dancers train in a multitude of extreme physical forms including martial arts, breakdance, gymnastics, ballet, yoga, contemporary dance techniques and contortion. This investigation has resulted in a totally unique choreographic language which has garnered Garry international praise from critics and audiences as well as many awards.
“Some of Lois’ greatest work is of dancers suspended in the air, mid flight. Already there has developed a terrific chemistry between Lois’ sensibility and the physicality of the ADT dancers. Unlike most dancers, these dancers train daily in an array of disciplines. The degree of choices available to them in the air far exceeds that of most conventionally trained dancers.”
Henry Jesionka collaborated on the conceptual development of the performance.
- Japan: September 29, 2006
- Adelaide Festival of Arts Australia March 1-6, 2004
- O.K., Great, Just Hold That Pose and Smile
- Australian Dance Theatre with Lois Greenfield