A work of teasing and menace: Dance makes a sensual start at Melbourne Fringe

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The Melbourne Fringe has kicked off! Here you can find a collection of reviews covering dance events across the festival.

Lush | gemma+molly ★★★★★
Dancehouse, until October 7

A blender stands near the audience. The power cord trails off behind a curtain at one side. It has no lid. There’s also an oscillating fan. Apart from that, the stage is bare.

Lush runs until October 7.Credit: Molly McKenzie

A dancer enters, settles onto the floor, spreads her legs and raises them over her head. She stares at the audience through the gap while she holds the pose.

The visual rhyme takes a moment to register: the lines of the legs echo the sides of the container. Then, of course, there are the blades at the base and the engine below.

The erotic potential of this image is developed through repetition, variation and the intensity of the performances. Lush is a work of teasing and menace and an absolute seriousness of purpose.

It’s a compelling piece of experimental dance with a mesmeric sensuality in its simple forms and wild innuendos: full of danger and seduction.
Reviewed by Andrew Fuhrmann

Touch | Deepa Mani and Sheena Chundee ★★★
Dancehouse, until October 7

Touch begins with an airing of grievances but develops into a celebration of cross-disciplinary collaboration and the potential for solidarity between women whose experiences of discrimination are different but resonant.

Deepa Mani, a teacher of Bharatanatyam, is frustrated by a lack of mainstream acceptance for classical Indian dance. Choreographer Sheena Chundee is frustrated by the lack of diversity in classical ballet.

Together, they embody these frustrations as dance. With impatient gestures and rapid footwork, striking her heels on the mat, Mani first tells of her exasperation at having to explain the value of Bharatanatyam.

Touch runs until October 7Credit: Warren Knower

Chundee, meanwhile, has created a series of expressive contemporary ballet solos for dancer Jasmine Lim, full of the heartache of an artist who strives for acceptance but is rejected. The solos are poignant but Touch is most persuasive when the two forms are brought together and performed side by side, with their differences and surprising affinities displayed.
Reviewed by Andrew Fuhrmann

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