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Three works by Nacho Duato is lovely.Really really lovely. I took a friend who is admittedly not into the contemporary dance thing, and there is little better to take someone like her to. The dancers are just phenomenal, they move with strength and precision and such liquid grace- it made me more than a little jealous.
However his work is, same-y, for wont of a better one. The three works are vague and similar in movement style, but when his signature is creating glorious long liquid phrases of movement with witty and whimsical musicality, I really didn’t mind that they were similar.  He has a nack for picking gorgeous music, and a talent for arranging the space with bodies, light, costume and set brilliantly.  In short, a breathtakingly beautiful night of dance – for me, it does what dance does best, convey something visceral, something one can’t express it in words.

‘Alas’ also by Duato was a huge disappointment after the triple bill.  The elements were there – Nacho’s choreography, Thomas Pandur as director and Wim Wenders gorgeous film, “wings of desire’ as the text. But somehow in bringing it together, it sucked.  Once you put dramaturgy with dance, you had better damn well make sure its good. This was overblown and self indulgent.  The images were beautiful, the dancers exquisite, but the movement and musicality lost out, the digital projections were woefully bad, the use of voice and text basic and uninspired.  Nacho himself played the angel Demiel, and it was bad.  He can’t move as well as he  used to, and in stark relief against his dancers its painfully obvious, as my less kind friend said, he had no acting ability, nor personal charisma. It seemed largely a vehicle for him to take off his shirt, look distractingly handsome and writhe a bit.  The end image, while lovely in conception (the dancers climbing up a column to heaven, the floor flooded with the angel writing on the ground splashing) was hilariously bad as Nacho splooshed around in the flooded stage, periodically splashing meaningfully as he did 1st year contemporary dance floor work.
Kudos to him for trying something different, but very disappointing after the sublime beauty of the triple bill

Construct by Tanja Liedtke.
It was superb. Clever, witty, fun, accessible.
The dancers are just superhuman, capable of feats of control, daring beyond comprehension all with a cheeky insouciance.
Great use of props, and staging. See it.
It was incredibly difficult to watch, as I had worked on one of the precursor pieces to it, and could still hear Tanja giving us the task (and incidently getting cranky as I wasn’tn doing it very well)(and now I see how its supposed to be done, totally fair enough), but a really special work.
The team which pulled it together are truly astonishing. And lovely to boot.

Mortal Engine – Chunky Move
Unbelievably irritating. It was like watching the windows media screen saver for an hour.   It lost the charm and  connection that ‘Glow’ their previous work had.  I didn’t feel any connection to the ‘narrative’ or the dancers – it was all engine, with little of the ‘mortal’.
I was so totally distracted by the technology – which as an artist who is working on similar things, I know is not all that super mega difficult, that I lost interest in the work as a performance and spent my time rebuilding their effects on my platform.
It really looked like a first stage work – where they found cool effects and made up dances to go with it, incidentally.

I think there is some potential in dance and technology but it is elusive and difficult.

It was cool.
If you grew up in the 80’s and male you were probably like me and spent most waking moments going ‘ker cher ke cher ke cher’ and trying to turn myself into something other than a rather short, chubby little boy.  Due to a lack of flexibility and ball joints in inprobable places the best I managed was something akin to a wholly unconvincing rock.

Anyways, it was a epic movie with plenty of cheese, pro american military gung ho-ness, required hot chicks, plot holes, etc etc. But its cheerful good fun and definitely deserves to be seen on a big screen.  I mean giant robots punching each other and breaking stuff.  Doesn’t get much cooler than that. I have spent the last few hours again trying to transform into something, with no greater success than 16 years ago. Blast.

I’m reading Noam Chomsky’s Failed States.

Its a great book, in the vein of that sort of thing. But it does leave one feeling tremendously frustrated, angry and very ineffectual.  In fact, I could summarise a good portion of my angst as a mind numbing lethargy as I can’t see a way to win.  And by win I mean not some overarching scheme to rule the world, though that of course is an option, but to somehow see my way through this life without helping destroy the world.

I won’t reguritate Chomsky, you can read the book or there are a good many blogs out there who are far more outraged than me, but suffice it to say that, essentially, the worlds greatest military power, is, in many respects, one of the ‘Failed States’ that it so violently and virtously claims to oppose.  Which is obviously to those with some degree of sanity, not really a teneable or desirable position to be in.
So we have the United States actively trying to destablise the world, and ironically providing the perfect training ground for new terrorists in Iraq, Australia is following with our head up the US’s arse – putting back the ideas of democracy with lovely new laws curtailing civil liberties (and we, Australia are particularly vulnerable to this as the only democratic country without a national bill of rights, instead relying on the good sense of the parlimentary process. And we all know how well that is working), both the US and Australia ignoring global warming its all looking really quite bleak.

The insidious rise of religious bollocks such as Intelligent Design being a science and the fact that our education minister actually considered it as a viable thing to be taught in Australian Schools as science.  Sure, lets chuck out rational thought, in fact, we can do as the US and redefine science so that ID can be taught.

The environment – So we’ve decided carbon is bad.  Fossil fuel is bad.  But then solar is ineffecient, requiring highly toxic chemicals to manufacture and regular replacement.  Hydro isn’t bad, but then it requires damming of rivers which leads to tremendous environmental damage – see Lake Pedder and the 3 Gorges in China.  Nuclear is quite a good option, but will take 10 – 20 years to save the carbon it took to create the bleeding thing, plus all the associated risks with it.  Wind isn’t consistent enough, meaning we have to run coal as backup (and coal is very ineffecient unless its running full pelt) and other studies have shown that building wind farms on peat bogs (common enough) releases a stupid amount of carbon trapped in the peat bog.  Carbon Capture and Sequestration, touted by Al Gore just seems stupid to me.  A large, costly exercise in burying your head in the sand.  But please inform me more on this matter.
Biofuels – given a big boost by everyones favourite billionaire, Richard Branson.  But then, where are we going to plant the vast quantities of grain to make our biofuels? And doesnt it seem slightly daft to plant hideous amounts of crop (in the processes likely destroying rainforests and useful things like that) and then mashing it into fuel when so much of the world goes hungry?
We’re arsed.

In my on-going spew about Art – I find this very difficult to reconcile, most artists I know are incredibly concerned with the environment. Its kind of our thing as loud opinionated sorts.  But ask most any artist what they want to do, and more than likely it is to travel – to take their show international, to see international shows/galleriers.  Galleries are swapping their collections around the world, shows fly around the world. But then this is all, of course a tremendous cost of resources.  What are we going to do about it? How to reconcile the politic regarding the environment and our practice?  I mean, I can’t help but feel excited that the Paris Opera Ballet is coming. But thats an entire plane load of performers, support and scenery. Ok its probably a more worthwhile cause than idiots who fly from london to new york for a spot of shopping because the pound is so monstrously overvalued, but still…

Pitifully ineffectual…

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