“precipice” is presented by State Theatre Centre of WA and Rachel Arianne Ogle; and is a remount of its 2014 premiere season, once again staged at the Studio Underground in the State Theatre Centre. Choreographer Rachel Arianne Ogle and her creative team present what is described as “a dance of abandon and precarious control” – indeed it is!
An ideal venue for this production, we enter the underground and the stage is in darkness. The performance begins with piercing light shining across the stage, with each dancer at its point. In pairs, male with male, female with female, they move in mirror image toward each other, back and forth, slowly, then fast, then screaming at each other. It is intriguing and raises questions about the meaning and purpose.
The performance continues in a series of vignettes of dance, sound and light, though the movement sequences don’t appear to relate to the one before or the one after. Original cast members Tyrone Robinson and Niharika Senapati are joined by Yilin Kong and Imanuel Dado. The physicality and strength of the four dancers is awe inspiring: with perfectly timed near misses, full catches with speed and energy, taking their bodies to the edge and back.
I found the sound design (by Luke Smiles) and lighting design (by Benjamin Cistern) at times piercing and even confronting, but it suited the style and atmosphere of the production.
Choreographer Rachel Arianne Ogle has put together a highly charged production that is undoubtedly of a very high standard, but I was left a little unsatisfied and puzzled. I question the connection of each scene to the other: some would take you to a point of crescendo and then pull away (for me) too soon and move onto the next scene; getting a taste of something interesting and then abruptly ending. Contemporary dance is never for the faint hearted and this production is no exception. It raises questions of meaning for the audience and if that was its purpose it was successfully achieved. “precipice” concluded on 1st June 2019.