Artimus - Burning Man Productions
2 March 2017, TAPAC, Auckland
Reviewed by Lauren Sanderson
Burning Man Productions hosts some of New Zealand’s best commercial dancers. The talented bunch take you on an epic adventure with their high-energy dance theatre work, Artimus. Inspired by the story of the Greek Goddess Artemis, who was conceived through a scandalous affair between the arrogant Zeus and the innocent Leto. Through a mixture of contemporary, jazz and modern dance they follow the chaos surrounding this unrequited love and its consequences. Revealing how Artemis became known as a savage goddess.
James Luck and Rebekkah Schoonbeek-Berridge’s choreography tells the tale of love; how it is found, and in turn created. The composition is edgy, fast-paced yet soft and heart-warming, capturing you from the very beginning.
This modern-day take on ancient Greek mythology transports you to a New York-esque metropolis, where the mighty Zeus (James Luck), his wife Hera (Georgia Elson) and their chorus of black-clad dancers are gangsters who rule the city. Fooled by the show-biz lifestyle a naïve doe-eyed Leto (Amanda Macfarlane) wants to live the plush lifestyle, she soon meets Zeus and let’s just say the rest is history.
In the second half of the show the story intensifies as it focuses on the birth of Artemis and the consequences of Hera discovering her existence. The piece deviates from the myth and is a complete contrast to the first half. The dancers demonstrate solid contemporary technique, ranging from mesmerizing duets to high-energy group performances. The ensemble shine in their animal roles while Rebekkah Schoonbeek-Berridge steals the show as the fierce yet soft goddess of the hunt, Artemis. Not only does she look the part, dressed in a Pocahontas like gown but she perfects the power and strength of a goddess, bringing a dynamic energy to the stage.
The lighting combined with a current soundtrack compliments the piece, it not only brings us back to the 21st century but also sets the mood and tone for each scene.
The first act saw a stunning routine by James Luck and Amanda Macfarlane, performed in complete darkness. The duo glide gracefully across the stage, leaving the audience to re-make each movement in their head by following the dancer’s breathing and listening to the sound of their feet. Half way through the piece a shimmer of light appears, both dancers are carrying torches on their wrists, following each other they use the light to define each gesture, making their shadows come alive on stage.
In contrast an electric tango emerges between Zeus and his wife Hera. Its seductive, its enchanting, it screams passion! The pair perform a range of lifts that leave your heart thumping out of your chest.
The performance reaches an almighty climax when Leto dies in the arms of her daughter Artemis. Seeking revenge for her mother’s murder, Artemis and her troupe of dancers begin their hunt for the killer.
Artimus is edgy, fast-paced and jam packed with talent! Burning Man Productions has created an international language through dance and this high-energy piece is just a snippet of what they have to offer.