Champions

When: Jan 17th- 22nd 2017
Where: Carriageworks
Duration: 60 mins

Sport: We cheer every goal, we love or hate every player with an unnatural fervour and we worship at the alter or muscle tone, sweat and determination.

Dance is a sport….. right?
Can you name a prolific Australian dancer? Choreographer? Company of note that isn’t SDC?

Champions, is a cleverly devised collaboration of the talented mind of director Martin Del Amo and the dynamic company Form Dance Projects. It draws on the similarities of dance and sport. The focus, determination, timing and skill required to ‘perform.’

Humorous in its articulation and framed as a sports match, Champion gives Festival audiences a chance to laugh at the vernacular, jargon and presentation of dance in a totally different light. It deliberately highlights the ‘rift’ between sport and the arts. Cleverly woven into the mix is sports news caster, Mel McLaughlin, who dialogues through and disseminates the performance and performers as the show plays out.

It is an interesting piece of theatre. Both poignant in its depiction of women in both sports and the arts, it has a lot to say about how we see the sexes and their place within the world of the male dominated society of sport.

The twelve performers are outstanding. Remember, just because they make it look simple… doesn’t mean you could do it. Sara Black, Kristina Chan, Cloe Fournier, Carlee Mellow, Sophia Ndaba, Rhiannon Newton, Katina Olsen, Marnie Palomares, Melanie Palomares,Kathryn Puie, and Miranda Wheen are powerful, dynamic and engaging.

There is also a mascot to think about, cheekily brought to life by Julie-Anne Long.

The difficulty for me in this piece, is that although there is a lot to be discussed given the subject matter, the actual movement component of the piece lacked ebb,flow, catharsis and depth. There was too much gravitas and slowness in the choreography and ultimately, it became a white wash of weighty single notes being played, rather than a layered orchestra. One of the most exhilarating parts of the performance were the lifts, right at the end. Other than that, the dynamics were too few and far between. All the elements were there: The subtle humour, statistics, the skill and the story, and yet I was not fully engaged in the experience. I needed just a little more excitement.