Pose Band at Melbourne Fringe Festival is an interesting contemporary dance piece that plays with ideas of replication, twins, mirror images and
Twelve dancers lie in the middle of a bright, white space, the shapes of their bodies visible through coloured pieces of fabric, which wrap tightly around them as they lie curled in wait. Each dancer emerges (in their underwear, which seems unnecessary; or, if it is necessary, needs to have a better context), as though babies uncurling from sleep, or butterflies emerging from cocoons, and an exploration of replicas begins.
Taking concepts from, as the programme says, “wax museums, evil twins, forgery and aura exchange” the dancers mirrored each others’ movements from across the space. Copies were made, and then copies of those copies, until everything descended into a place of non-meaning, with each body at once removed from everything around it, but also connected with another.
Choreography from Rebecca Jensen was interesting but left a little to be desired; there was a lack of polish and assurance that affected the overall tone of the piece with an uneasiness. Ultimately, each section of dance lasted far too long, and it would have been a stronger piece at two thirds of the length.
Lighting Design from Matthew Adey was simple and stark, illuminating the bright white floor and the dancers in flooded light, which almost hurt to look at. This worked with the traverse seating and almost Brechtian choreography, which removed the audience from emotion and instead invited us to analyse the movement for meaning and messages. Although an interesting strategy, it was not entirely successful, and a lack of emotional connection between the dancers meant that it gave audience members an easy opt-out, as evidenced by the raised eyebrows and blank faces that could be seen in the viewers sitting across the stage.
Pose Band is an ambitious work. With thirteen dancers, there was a lot –possibly far too much – too look at, and this resulted in an unfortunate muddle, in which meaning was lost. It is probable, however, that the piece’s meaning was, in fact, an ultimate absence of meaning; in which case, it succeeded.