Apoliticaldance

Dance Theatre
Melbourne
November 2006

In apoliticaldance, NYID sheds the company's signature elements of video and words in a close-up on life in the modern world.

Taking its cue from the rhetorical frame: how does ten years of neo-conservative rule manifest in the body, apoliticaldance presents a strange land in which community and intimacy are revealed as physical conceits strangled by repetition, banality, insecurity and fear.

Returning to our earlier process of devising and developing non-script based performance works using improvisation, choreography and open-space staging, apoliticaldance is an ambient performance using a physical language that crosses krumping with liturgical dance, body-slamming with voguing, and football with modes of locomotion based on shuffling, stepping, walking and gliding.

The idea behind ambient performance is to develop an environment in which time, space and place evaporate and the underlying rhythms of daily life are placed in the foreground. The body is the primary agent in this landscape, and is the site of both cause-and-effect. In the making of apoliticaldance, we use an approach to working on the body we call body listening that enables a visceral communication between performers, and between performers and audience.

The performance proper comprises improvisational and structured choreographic sequences which veer sharply between long periods of stillness combined with minimal movement patterns and violent, provocative chapters which alternate between directness and abstraction.

The audience is placed within this environment so they feel complicit with the performers and the performance. Once seated, they encircle a performing area made up of five chairs and five vertical white panels. This spatial arrangement has the effect of drawing the audience attention to a single locus whilst enhancing a sense of community, not unlike that of a church. In the improvisational sections, any movements the audience make are translated into the collective body of the performers who react to any shift in the space by human agency. This works like a glue, sticking the audience to the performers and vice-versa.

apoliticaldance asks what has become of our relationships, our language, our imaginative landscapes as they resist, succumb or surrender to the prevailing conservative orthodoxy. How do we live under a paranoid nationalism mediated by overt and covert social and technological surveillance systems? How have our behaviours changed? Our values? Our hearts? Our minds? How do we live in the current conditions of our society?

Answers to these questions are sought in the body: traumatised, over-inscribed, paranoid, commodified, extended, beaten, dehumanised, humorised and deflated.
It is the body that manifests our fears, our neuroses, our true sensibility. It is the body that shows us what we are when our mind deceives us.