I was lucky enough to attend Locreado Contemporary Dance Company’s 5th Season offering – The Four Elements – (12th May) and can report that Loredo Malcolm’s work is alive and well. The show seamlessly blended the talents of both Senior and Junior Company members, transporting the audience into the full force of nature’s many features and faces. Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and each element’s powerful primal forces were expertly expressed through dance and interwoven into an exciting synergy of movement.
Here is what Jason Winters and Travers Ross had to say about this exciting show:
Jason Winters: “What I really loved was that perfect marriage of young dancers with professional dancers and there were many times that I couldn’t actually tell the difference between the Junior and the Senior company and I thought that was beautifully done on Loredo’s part. I really like the fact that there was a lot of different types of music, I didn’t really know what to expect and I was always eager to see what the next item would hold. Highlights for me were the end of the first act – the fire number which went into the final number of the first act which I felt was really heartfelt, pedestrian and I really connected with that probably the most. Great … great night!”
Travers Ross: “Loredo’s show I felt was a really nice time to bring out the Earth, Fire, Wind and Water elements with what the world is going through right now. I thought it was really nice, the dancing was beautiful – I felt the emotions of each element – the dancers really expressed themselves well, related, conflicted, moulded and bounced off each other. I heard it was put together in a really short amount of time also which was amazing – well done!”
Dancers were challenged beyond their comfort zones with combustive African-influenced choreography by Loredo and guest choreography by Jason Winters. The professionalism of even the youngest cast member was inspirational. Assistants to Loredo, Holly Headrick and Rebecca Nastasi, kept a tight reign on rehearsals throughout Loredo’s absence in Singapore during his season in ‘Wicked’ with choreography sent weekly via video links.
Here is what some of the cast members had to say …
How did you find working with Loredo? “It was absolutely amazing – completely different to what I’m used to. He is already so experienced in the industry so it was great to learn so much from him. Particularly his style as it’s so different to what I’m used to as I am very classically trained and his work has very African influences, it’s very hard and very challenging. The 4 Elements is a very hard show, not just technically but stamina- wise. It was hard not having him here all the time, learning from videos etc but as soon as he cam back from Singapore, he was straight into it. It was an interesting process but good to learn.
What is your background? “I’m originally from a little country town called Grafton on the Mid North Coast of NSW. I’ve travelled since I was little competing in eisteddfods, I was at the Australian Ballet in Melbourne for a while, did a year at Urban Dance Centre last year and just been doing bits and pieces everywhere. I’ve been working in the industry more so this year but this show is definitely the highlight so far for sure!”
Claire Billson – youngest Junior Company member (12yrs)
What was it like being the youngest dancer in Loredo Malcolm’s Contemporary Dance Company? “It was a really good experience to be on stage with all those people and a big audience.”
What did you learn? “To really sell yourself in front of a big audience because you never know what might happen or who might be in the audience watching.”
What was your favourite part of the whole experience? “Coming up to show-time because Loredo was freaking out and stressing, but it was really fun!”
What was the most challenging aspect of this show for you? “Picking up Loredo’s style and the way he teaches. Everybody teaches differently and I found adapting to his teaching and choreographic style quite a challenge.”
When one of the senior company members had to pull out, you were asked to step up into his position as well as maintaining your Junior cast position – tell us a little bit about that … “I felt very privileged; it showed that Loredo believed in me to give me that opportunity so I was very grateful. It was very hard work because I had to learn everything that the former senior member had learnt over 6 months, in about three weeks, so that was an enormous challenge but I enjoyed it very much.”
Your aspirations for the future? “My goals are to obviously improve as much as possible and hopefully get as much experience as I can with different teachers to expand my grasp of different styles and genres. Hopefully in the future, I’d like to follow in the footsteps of some of my mentors and have an international career.”
Loredo Malcolm – Director, Choreographer
How did you cope with Choreographing this show while still performing in Singapore in Wicked? “This show was particularly challenging because I was overseas, but I have two amazing assistants in Holly Headrick and Rebecca Nastasi who kept it all together for me and rehearsed the cast brilliantly. I made the choice to create a show under the circumstances I was in and I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but I didn’t. We pulled off an amazing show. It was a risk to involve Juniors into my show, but a good risk, because a lot of people when they hear of a Company they think of professional dancers who are older, but I saw these juniors and they are absolutely amazing technique-wise and I thought: Why not showcase them, give them an opportunity to perform without competition and worrying about 1st place, just to show their amazing talent.”
It’s such a generous thing for you to share with young aspiring members of our industry – it would teach them so much for their futures.
What is your intention and philosophy though for the future of your company? “My philosophy is that no matter how hard it is, financially to run, when I finish a show and I see the reaction from the audience and I see my dancers in tears of happiness that’s all I need to keep going and I know one day that someone will put their hand up to financially help, but at the moment I am very happy to be doing what I’m doing because it’s worthwhile.”
What about the future? “May aim is I’d like to take this show to Melbourne in October which is when I finish my next show with Wicked. At the moment I am just running the company based on my feeling and passion and I could decide in three weeks that I’m creating a new show from Korea from scratch. I feel that this is possible and I just love doing what I do and I will continue to support all the other companies doing such great work here at the moment too.”
What was the highlight for you? “In this show, just looking at my dancers and seeing them thanking me for this opportunity – it is so overwhelming. Looking back at where they started and where they finished, it is fantastic.”
“I drive off passion, truth and belief and this company is something different in this country so I will continue to do all I can – keep supporting LoCreAdo Contemporary Dance Company!”