Highlights - How About Now
13 February 2017, BATS Theatre, Wellington
Reviewed by Alexandra Smith
“SPARKLE” written in glittery paper across the back of the stage epitomised the overall feel of this dance performance. The piece was lively, fun and playful. Walking into the theatre, I got the feeling that it was going to be an interesting work. As I entered, there was a border of glitter around the stage and a mixed media image of the artists projected onto the back of the stage. The way the glitter captured the light and emphasised the movements of the dancers during the show was fantastic. A mix of solos and duets, the dancers brought this piece to light in captivating dynamism. The dancers showed the audience both solo and partner contemporary choreography.
Highlights was held in the Heyday Dome at BATS Theatre which was the perfect intimate space to view the performance - you almost felt that you too, would be covered in glitter throughout the performance. Our introduction to the piece started with the two dancers, Lauren Byrne and Emma Martin, wearing tall boots walking in and moving around the glittery border with a curious mix of walk and sideways hops. As they approached the front of the stage, they took off the boots and then the fun began. Removing the boots seemed to let the dancers move freely and start to manipulate the glitter that lined the edge of the stage. Patterns emerged within the glitter on the floor, a triangle shape and the words “SPARKLE” were formed. By the end of the performance the entire space was coated with glitter.
Sweeping, uniformed dance motions made the most of their chosen prop. Tumbles and turns threw the glitter into the air and let it rain down in a flurry. The dancers became covered with it. It looked a lot of fun. One dancer lay on the floor and was covered head to toe in the glitter, the other put the glitter in her mouth, only to spit it out later to a curious effect.
The choreography was edgy and jagged in parts, smooth and fluid in others, which possibly reflected the nature of the cut-up pieces of sparkly paper. Long, sweeping movements stirred the glittering particles to catch the lighting. The passion of the performers was apparent as they moved energetically and playfully through the space. Their movement had a fluidity, and they showed control and expertise. A fun, dynamic, energetic and passionate piece.
By the end Byrne and Martin were puffed by the demands of the movement which added a breathy quality to the work. It also added to the soundscape. Contemporary music accompanied the dance and the costuming was simple with pale coloured dresses, as to not distract from the multi-coloured, glittery paper cut outs. The lighting was simple and played to great effect when glitter was thrown into the air.