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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 19. 3rd August 1972

Australian Dance Theatre

page 14

Australian Dance Theatre

Australian Dance Theatre is a fully indigenous Company, whose artistic Director Elizabeth Dalman has derived inspiration for her repertoire, from the modern dance heritage of Europe and America, modern Australian poetry, composition and art.

Central to the work of the Company, however, is the inspiration gained from the mythology and art of the Australian Aborigine characterised by the stories of creation from the Dream time. ADT in all its modern rock culture and heavy multi-media lighting including colour wheels (not seen in New Zealand) to express these issues in the idiom of today. ADT is total event combining a zonking visual, sound and emotional experience.

Photo of two dancers

Limousine for Janis presents a stareulogistic study of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and all the other superstars who have died of an overdose of life. This schizophrenic nightmare choreographed for the Company by black American choreographer Eleo Pomare is set to Joplins own music and that of Yoko Ono. Leaving is a more lyrical work, based on a Buddhist poem set to Bach, which depicts in five sections the various emotions motives and relationships involved in the poem. The background music is played out on Japanese instruments. This work was choreographed as a result of the ADT Asian Tour in 1971. A major work of the company, choreographed by Elizabeth Dalman set to the Electric Prunes examines religion, civil war, brutality and unjust 'trials of Justice' in each sequence of the ballet.

Prominent among other works will be three major indigenous ballets inspired by the mythology of the Aborigine. Sun and Moon, Creation and Corroboree are set to the music of modern Australian composers. These works, which make more use of film and Australian Poetry, should prove the highlight of the evening performances, conveying as they do the mystical dreamtime of the creation of the world. Selected solo dances drawn mainly from blues and spiritual rhythms will be interspersed in the programme.

Modem Dance, a major overseas art form, is as yet virtually unknown to New Zealanders. In the early 1920's Isadora Duncan broke away from the restrictive and stylish ballet forms, and went back to the roots of dance, which is essentially self-expression. Simultaneously the art of Modern Dance companies exist in all Western countries. Ballet has also tended to become more modern but the essential differences between Ballet and Modern Dance lie in the freedom of movement, theme and music in the latter. Modern Dance is danced in bare feet, and does not involve any of the stylised brilliance which is associated with ballet. Experimental choreographers of Modern Dance employ all the exciting techniques of Modern Theatre. Costumes, for example, are no longer conventional or representational, and may, in some cases, completely conceal the body of a dancer, so that through his dancing he can produce incredible shapes and forms. Lighting and film are also employed extensively with Modern Dance, and recent choreographers have even had their dancers speaking on stage. A Modern Dancer is at all times encouraged in self-expression and creativeness, and choreographers often encourage their dancers to evolve their own sequences.

Modern Dance is capable of [unclear: nceting], through the medium of dance, the themes and issues of the present day, unlike Ballet, which traditionally tends towards a more Romantic theme. Modern Dance is, then, more relevant to a society of constant change. Its ability to experiment and interact with other contemporary art forms, can only add stimulus to art in general.

Because of each choreographer's individuality through self-expression, Modern Dance can vary enormously in style. In the United States, much of it is based on the techniques of Martha Graham, one of the greatest exponents of Modern Dance in our time. However the companies of Alvin Ailey (an all-Negro Company) Al-win Nikolai, (an experimental dance-drama Company) Paul Taylor ( a classic Modern Dance Company) and numerous other, all differ greatly. In Europe Rudolph Laban and Kurt Joos laid foundations, but once again the styles of each of the various companies actions, but once again the styles of each of the various companies reflect their choreographers. The Nederlands Dance Theatre one of the most exciting companies in Europe, leads the field in experimentation. Maurice Bejart of France tends a more lavish and spectacular production.

Thus Modern Dance is an accepted and stimulating part of contemporary overseas culture. New Zealand, however has never had a tour by any overseas Modern Dance Company, and does not as yet, maintain a corps of fully trained modern dancers. For this reason, NZUAC has invited Australia's foremost Modern Dance Company, the Australian Dance Theatre.

Photo of two dancers with masks

Photo of a dancer outside

History of the Australian Dance Theatre.

Since its inception in 1965, in Adelaide, the Australian Dance Theatre has performed in all Capital cities in Australia, and is a regular guest performer at the Adelaide and Perty Festivals of Arts. It has also toured extensively through country areas of Australia. In 1968, supplemented by Dutch and English dancers, the Australian Dance Theatre toured Europe and the United States, performing in Holland, Italy, Switzerland and New York. In 1971, the Australian Dance Theatre did an intensive tour of six Asian countries. New Guinea and India.

They are assisted by the South Australian Government, and the Australian Council for the Arts, and are consistent performers for student audiences, State, and biennial Australian University Festivals.

The Australian Dance Theatre will present two performances on Tuesday 29th August (2pm and 8pm) and one performance on Wednesday 30th August at 8pm, in the Memorial Theatre.

Bookings at Memorial Theatre or at D.I.C.