Venue: King Street Theatre (Newtown NSW), Oct 13, 2015
Choreographer: Alyssa Casey
Cast: Natasha Clancy, Cassandra Clarke, Tasmin Cummins, Caitlin Drysdale, Brianna Hatter, Danni Hegarty, Lucas Hughes, Emma Macpherson, Bryony Munro, Ryan Ophel, Zac Smith, Michael Stone, Georgie Walsh
Reflections features a series of dance sequences set to the recorded music of Hayden Tee’s “Generation WhY? Live” album, comprised mainly of 80’s hits interpreted with acoustic and orchestral arrangements by Nigel Ubrihien. The vocals are emotional and powerful, in the style of musical theatre that many are familiar with, and that same attitude is adopted by choreographer Alyssa Casey, who chooses to present pieces in a sincere and quite literal manner, in accordance with the themes of each song. Physical language is largely lyrical with influences from classical, ballroom and gymnastics adding to the movement schema. Casey is also responsible for costuming of the show, which works well to provide visual variation between numbers, but is most effective when minimal in approach.
It is a cast of exuberant and athletic dancers, extremely well-rehearsed and full of conviction in what they produce. Some have a tendency to express too much sentimentality, but there is no doubt that all are steely focussed and keen to put forward their best. The group of 13 is well utilised, with most members receiving a moment in the sun to showcase their individual talents, although the bigger numbers can feel overwhelming in its intimate venue. Memorable performers include Emma Macpherson and Michael Stone who bring confidence, professional polish and solid presences to the stage.
For all its technical proficiencies and impressive discipline, the work requires greater innovation and sophistication in order to deliver a sense of transcendence promised by the medium of dance. Much of its endeavours are derivative, and in this space of creativity, our senses seek originality over emulation. Each of us has an unrivalled familiarity with our bodies, but we need artists to shed new light on the capacities and meanings of all that is flesh. Dance is uniquely able to speak with us, body to body, and its continuing mission to defy convention is what makes it beautiful.