A Movement Masterpiece Celebrating the Soulful Poetry that is Jazz
Reviewed by Brendan Daynes
In the world of dance, where innovation and creativity are endless, Metamuse emerges as a transcendent masterpiece, a stunning testament to the power of dance and its harmonious connection with music. Under the visionary direction of Luca Dinardo, whose passion for the art form shines through every step and featuring a dynamic ensemble of nine dancers, this piece honours the timeless tradition of this movement practice while at the same time pushes the limits of the timeless genre to create something that is completely breathtaking.
The audience becomes captivated by the very first note of music and is immersed into a world of artistic expression. The prologue sets the stage for an extraordinary symphony of movement and melodic brilliance, as over the next hour each dancer embodies not only just a character, but becomes the perfect personification of an instrument. The execution of every movement and its dynamic quality are directly informed by their instrument, allowing the audience to witness the profound connection between dance and music. This fascinating exploration of how the dynamics and styles of various instruments can influence the dancers’ performances, creates a truly unique and mesmerising experience.
The running order is thoughtfully crafted, providing each instrument with their moment in the spotlight and a platform to showcase the exceptional talent of the local dance community. Each dancer brings their own unique interpretation and connection to their instrument, infusing their performances with passion, artistry and strong technical prowess. As the flute, Scout Hook, casts a spell on the audience, with ethereal melodies and a movement quality that is mesmerising. The sultry and strong saxophone, played by Asmara Soekotjo, is in command and demands the attention of the audience as each note and its accompanying movement stamps its authority. Nicole Sanders infuses playfulness and whimsy into her clarinet enticing the audience with every movement. As the guitar, Callum Marshall, is captivating with a fiery and fun energy that is impossible not to be drawn to and encourages the audience to smile with each and every movement. Jamane Virdo‘s bass guitar provides a pulsating rhythm and the strong and grounded movement is perfectly executed to showcase not only strength but also vulnerability. The violin, played by Carter Rickard is nothing short of breathtaking, with such precise and technical movement execution that evokes a full range of emotions. Amelie Pollock‘s enchanting portrayal of the harp radiates grace and ethereal beauty and draws the audience in from the very first note. As the trumpet, Issy Fox, blares with passion and fun and the explosive energy of the movement is the perfect embodiment for this instrument. As the cello, Luca Dinardo, adds depth, vulnerability and maturity and is captivating and stunning to watch.
Luca Dinardo, both director and choreographer, channels her passion for jazz dance and is a guiding force behind the show’s success. Her deep-rooted understanding of the art form is evident as she draws movement from the very essence of jazz, paying homage to its rich heritage while infusing it with contemporary energy. Dinardo’s intention to give jazz dance a platform to shine on its own is beautifully realised through the impeccable execution of beautifully technical and clean choreography that brims with authenticity and innovation. The result is a visually stunning tapestry of motion that resonates with the true essence of the art and is a testament to her unwavering dedication and profound artistic vision.
Complementing the choreography is the evocative musical composition by Louis Edwards. The music forms the beating heart and brilliantly captures the sentiment of treating our art as a sacred devotion. He cleverly captures the spirit of artistic evolution, as each dancer personifies an instrument and the collective voice reflects the shared thoughts and emotions of the ensemble. The music becomes a vibrant tapestry that weaves together narratives of passion, introspection, and collective identity. The fusion of live music and dance transcends mere performance and transports the audience to a realm where every note resonates with their very soul.
Behind the scenes, the creative and production team contributes to the brilliance, ensuring that every aspect of the production harmonises seamlessly. Domenica Barbari‘s costume designs not only accentuate the dancers’ movements but also embody the essence of each instrument. Every intricate detail is purposeful and mirrors the character of the instruments, further enhancing the visual storytelling. Matthew Osborne‘s lighting design adds another layer of enchantment, creating an atmosphere that perfectly showcases the movement. From subtle and intimate moments to explosive bursts of energy, Osborne’s lighting seamlessly transitions, guiding the audience through the emotional journey of the performance.
Metamuse is an immersive experience that transports the audience to a realm where dance and music harmonise in perfect synchrony and converge in a symphony of emotions. It is a testament to the power of dance and music to evoke emotions, provoke contemplation, and ignite the imagination. Luca Dinardo‘s visionary direction challenges perceptions, and celebrates the profound connection between movement and sound while pushing the boundaries of jazz dance, elevating it to new heights of artistic expression and storytelling.
Metamuse played at the Alex Theatre in St Kilda from Thursday 1st – Sunday 4th June 2023. For more information please visit https://www.instagram.com/metamuse.au/