Melbourne's IMMERSED – Review

Paul Malek & Chris Duncan at IMMERSED 2013

Last week, Melbourne dancers came out in force to celebrate yet another amazing year in dance in the Industry Gala performance which has become a highly anticipated annual event … IMMERSED!
Melbourne dance identity, Paul Malek, had once again collected an exceptional crop of Melbourne talent from some of the best studios and independent dance groups across the city and beyond. Bringing together the industry’s best Hip Hop, Ballroom, Contemporary, Tap, Broadway and Classical dance creators, Immersed is ‘a spectacular showcase of all Melbourne has to offer’.
Esther Hannaford – star of King Kong the Musical –  hosted the night of spectacular highs with choreography from some of Melbourne’s top creators. Expertly choreographed into the opening act, Esther’s triple threat skills were showcased – thrilling the already-hyped audience.
With so many exceptional dance works, it was hard to pick favourites. Trish Squire choreographed a fantastic ‘Gatsby’ piece while The Space delivered ‘Cinderella’s Nightmare’. VCA’s ‘The Gathering’ was breathtaking and a duo choreographed and performed by Lucy Doherty and Rob McLean was a study of exceptional contemporary lyrical dance with raw energy and emotion. Entertaining pieces by Peter Sette, the Hollabak Dance Crew, Edge Performers and Rain Francis rounded out the versatility of the first act while Danny Golding Entertainment provided an exceptionally saucy prelude to the final piece for Act 1, ‘Get Booted’ by Miss Friby’s Psychiatric Unit.
Act 2 was just as exhilarating with a fun ‘Honky Cat’ opening number by Michael Ralph. Paul Malek’s own work was showcased in collaboration with the talented Kim Adam with an excerpt from Malek’s ‘Yours Truly’ known as ‘Twilight’ – a particularly moving piece which had this dance-diva genuinely experiencing leaky eyeballs!
Precision technicians from Patrick Studios delivered a focussed performance in ‘Tron’, while Benjamin Hancock spun a quirky yet fascinating storyline across a strip of red carpet as he allowed himself to be engulfed within the narrative of his own creative script. ‘Sins’ by RickStix was yet another stand-out second half performance, together with the exceptional synergy between partners demonstrated in ‘Give Me Love’ by Sarah Jane Birtles and Shaun Diaz. ‘Bfierce’ hit the Hip Hop hardwire with ‘Grown Woman’, and the final piece of the night – ‘Silence’ – by new Director of Choreography for Collaboration The Project, Kim Adam, delivered an excellent piece to sum-up the feeling of ‘coming together’ in a celebration of dance that the night encompassed in bucket-loads.
Such a fabulous event focused on celebrating dance and bringing dancers together in a positively charged atmosphere! Congratulations Paul Malek and his team. CONGRATULATIONS!

Esther Hannaford