Review by DANA OSBORN
Dust is an intriguing medium. Its movement is governed by nothing and no one. Millions of individual particles drift in all directions, falling, swirling, and colliding with one another. It holds endless potential for the spontaneous, the erratic, and the unpredictable. Its incorporation into dance allows it to act as a medium of interaction, mimicry, and inspiration. Did the experimental contemporary dance piece Dust capitalise on the opportunities this spirited medium brings?
In the beginning, the choreography is beautiful. Four dancers are on stage, moving simultaneously yet incongruously, reminiscent of Merce Cunningham’s Chance Dance which utilises randomness, resulting in abrupt changes in the pace and mood of the movement. At times, each dancer seems to be improvising their own world, unaware of the movements nearby, linked only by the spatial tension between them.
Holding immense aesthetic potential, the dust transmutes into otherwordly formations as it falls and is crafted into shapes by the dancers who delicately play with its ephemeral nature. The dust communicates with the light: obscuring, reflecting, and scattering to create celestial light beams. When a significant amount of dust has settled, dancers begin drawing lines, rolling in circular motions leaving traces of their movements behind them. In these moments, the essence and personality of dust shine through.
But about halfway in, Dust loses its touch. Each dancer comes to embody a season, communicated only by a flower, a sun, a leaf, and a snowflake drawn in the dust where they stand. The choreography is undermined by the distracting and unnecessary projections on the back curtain. The dust becomes sidelined in favour of a much less intriguing centrepiece. At times the pace of the choreography is also at odds with the intensity of the music, making the movement seem anticlimactic.
Despite this, the skill and technique of the dancers cannot be faulted. Their performances are emotional and technically impressive, and the choreography is beautifully constructed overall. Dust is a visually exciting piece that, while exhibiting some incredibly talented dancers, builds entire worlds out of the microscopic, showing that less really is more.