Emotional Debut by New Contemporary Dance Company
Reviewed for DanceLife Australia by Alisha Coon
An exciting new Victorian dance company, Lion Heart Dance Company, recently debuted their first work Table of Eight. Under the artistic direction of Benjamin Curé (So You Think You Can Dance Australia, The Scarlet Trace) this new lyrical jazz production showcased great Melbourne talent.
Table of Eight weaves the tale of a tight‐knit circle of friends that begins to unravel after the untimely death of a member. It is a narrative designed to start conversations, about grief, connection and modern communication. The story is told across a variety of styles of classical ballet, jazz and hip hop, to create contemporary movement.
Lion Heart also conducts workshops to both professional and student dancers on a regular basis in addition to its company performances. For more information on future workshops please visit www.lionheartdancecompany.com.
The next performance season for Lion Heart will be in August 2016 with a new production Fabricated.
I had no idea what to expect when I walked into Table of Eight. I definitely didn’t expect that I would laugh out loud, be brought to tears and also jump out of my seat in surprise!
The first scene opened with a group of friends sitting around a table. Curé created a feel-good atmosphere with playful choreography and upbeat music. The cast is instantly likeable and extremely relatable. The laugh-out-loud moment in this scene was when one of the dancers just had his heartbroken and decides to pour milk straight into the cereal box … We’ve all been there!
A series of duets introduces the audience more intimately to the relationships within the group. The first is an elegant duet danced by Andrew J Liu and Jodie Toogood. The lovers dance with long lines and fluid partnering, and left me with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart.
The second duet touched on a very poignant subject affecting many relationships in this modern world … mobile phones. Curé cleverly depicts how so many people go about their lives with their faces glued to their mobiles and how it can negatively impact relationships and our ability to have meaningful connections with others.
The third duet had a much lighter tone, shining the spotlight on two best friends. Jake O’Brien and Brandon Anderson were both charming and cheeky, producing lots of laughter from the audience and proving that best friends can always cheer you up no matter how down you feel!
“After losing one of their own, a tight-knit friendship circle must navigate the rapidly changing landscape of their relationships.”
At this point I could feel tears welling. Curé did such a good job of making the audience feel like they were part of the Table of Eight group of friends that when one of the lovers passed away, there were plenty of audience members doing the sly wiping-away of tears!
The intimate performance space coupled with Curé’s emotive music choices definitely enhanced the experience for the audience. The large table and eight chairs were cleverly used throughout the piece with seamless transitions. I had a goosebumps moment when the table was momentarily used to symbolize the lover’s coffin, sombrely carried by the four men.
I enjoyed Curé’s SYTYCD lyrical style of choreography used for this storytelling type of evening. I believe that there is a lot of potential for lyrical to be used for more full-length evenings of dance and look forward to seeing what’s next for the Lion Heart Company.
Hats off to Benjamin Curé and his dancers for a fantastic evening of dance and storytelling.