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WHAT’S ON

Sins exposed in dramatic dance

E

xpressions Dance Company has earned a reputation for its provocative works. Its

last production,

The Host

, was a study in greed, ambition and jealousy at a dinner

party which erupts into a power play between guests and the host. In powerful

and dynamic physical movement it explored the dark side of human nature as each

character grapples with the desire for status and control. It also led the company’s

artistic director Natalie Weir to a first-time collaboration with local fashion designer

Gail Sorronda who created flamboyant costumes for the production.

For her next production, opening on 21 August at QPAC’s Playhouse, Weir

once again exposes human vices in a work she describes as her most physical yet. In

7 Deadly Sins

each of Weir’s ensemble cast takes the physical form of wrath, sloth,

greed, gluttony, lust, pride and envy, while guest artist Thomas Greenfield takes on

the role of Man/humanity.

Weir says the cast had fun experimenting with movements to match each of the sins and

all contributed to the research that became the storyboard for the production. Weir’s own

research included looking to artworks that have depicted the sins through the ages and to

movies such as the David Fincher thriller

Seven

, which starred Brad Pitt. She found her greatest

inspiration in the works of medieval Italian painter Giotti which led her to develop a simple

framework for the stage design with her colleague Bill Haycock. Colours that have been associated

with the sins over centuries are also part of the lighting design.

Weir admits she is intrigued by the vices that lurk within us all. “The seven deadly sins exist

within everyone; it’s up to us to let them in or push them out. We look at how we make that

decision. Sometimes the sin can be quite small, not all are deadly but that depends what

extremes we take them to,” she says.

InWeir’s interpretation, the sins do not exist only in isolation. There is plenty of scope for

dramatic ensemble work as the sins interact with each other; for example we see how wrath

can ricochet through bodies. “I thought it would be interesting to look at the relationship

the sins have with each other and the effect they have on Man and humanity,” Weir

explains. In the midst there are some light moments, particularly with sloth,

while other sins, such as gluttony, proved quite challenging for the dancer.

But that was all part of Weir’s plan. “I wanted to really stretch the

dancers individually and this plays perfectly to the number of dancers

we have in our ensemble – seven dancers for seven sins. We still

have our narrative, which we are known for, but with more

abstraction in this production. It is a mix of powerful

solos and explosive group work.” For this

production, too, Weir has formed a new

collaboration and worked with composer

Darrin Verhagen for an electronic score

very different to anything Weir has done

before. “I wanted something big, gritty,

percussive and explosive – it’s such a beautiful,

different sound, a great match,” Weir says.

Expressions Dance Company pushes the physical boundaries in its new production

DEAN sings the truth

Forming her first band in high school and running the gamut of

classical, jazz and cabaret performance, Emma Dean has carved an

international career and now divides her time between Brisbane

and New York. Straight from a US tour Dean is back in her

latest incarnation as Emma and the Hungry Truth for a show at

Judith Wright Centre. Dean tells a rich story in song of personal

experiences and emotions from a life on the stage in

Will Feast on You

,

complemented by the distinctive sounds of piano, synth, drum kit,

cello, electric guitar, violin and vocals from the band. On 21-22 August,

tickets from $30 ($36 cabaret). See

www.judithwrightcentre.com

32

| BNE July/August 2015

Dancers Benjamin Chapman and Elise May will appear in

7 Deadly Sins

by

Expressions Dance Company, 21 to 29 August at Playhouse, QPAC, South

Bank. Tickets, call 136 246 or see

www.qpac.com.au