GAME ON – Arts Radar and Theatre of Rhythm and Dance

Published on 16th Aug, 2011

Game-On-2---Shane-RozarioGame On is a dance-music duet performed by Bobby Singh, a highly sought-after tabla player (the tabla is an instrument which consists of a pair of hand drums that are various sizes and creates different sounds) who has performed with numerous musicians and has also won an Aria Award for ‘Best World Music Album’ and dancer Miranda Wheen who moves and shapes the music with her athletic body. Wheen has worked with many companies from Restless Dance Theatre, Dirty Feet Dance Collective and Jigsaw Theatre Company.

This work weaves an ancient music tradition from India with a modern western contemporary dance style. Supposedly the musician and dancer maintain a conversation through their art form, the dancer responding to a sequence she may be given or the musician following her formations through his musical voice. The idea is that this piece is like a dialogue or a cross-cultural conversation that looks like improvisation but in fact is highly choreographed.

The concept was created by Annalouise Paul who has a long standing career as a performing artist, she has recently set up Theatre of Rhythm and Dance which the website states as Australia’s leading intercultural company presenting compelling, relevant and unique work.”

However, for me personally, this concept didn’t really work, the ‘conversation’ didn’t resonate with me. Paul explained afterwards in a Q&A that this piece was about a ‘3-way conversation’ between musician, dancer and audience. I didn’t feel I was part of the conversation, I felt like I was in a Sunday afternoon zone and the drumming was sending me into a sleepy meditation, either that or boredom.

I have seen many emerging artists, new works and cross cultural theatre pieces but this one unfortunately was right off the mark for me. I wont write this new company off just yet, but they will have to produce much more engaging work to hold my attention in future.

Emma Bell is a writer, reviewer and interviewer and can be found at www.emmabell.com.au

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