Artistic Directors Scott Pokorny and Tim Barnes of the northern suburbs based Scimm. Dance Company have a talented pool of dancers under their wing. They also have a knack for showcasing their troupe and each individual’s technical and expressive abilities.
As part of Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival, Scott and Tim – aha, so that’s how Scimm. got its name – bring together two distinctive and intelligible works in a concise two-part show.
The first, Pink, incorporates seven sequences expressing personal stories from the company’s LGBTQIA+ members’ own queer experiences – Queer Longing, Wandering Hands, Pleasure, Voyeurism, Objectification, Stigma and Identity.
Each is sensitively and unabashedly drawn and executed with earnestness and clarity by four hot-pink body-hugging costumed dancers, Bailey Glen, Billie Watson, Meg Ferrier and Ronan Armstrong in all combinations from solo to quartets.
The titles speak volumes, the moods quickly variable and the choreographic results are pleasantly firm and rounded. Most importantly, they engage with heartfelt communicative qualities to build a cohesive performance.
Particularly memorable are the infectious charms and playfulness that come with Billie and Meg’s Wandering Hands and the primal and seductive body-knotting of Bailey and Ronan’s Pleasure.
Danced to an eclectic range of music, for the most part, Pink is characterised by stop-start rapid angular movements complemented by broad, fluidly sweeping gestures using the body’s athletic entirety and the stage’s limits.
While the music is similarly eclectic in the second part and main fare, Mechorstra, it inspires, defines, and drives the work purposefully.
Scott and Tim take the concept of an orchestra as a metaphor for starched conservatism and its handling of outside influences and roguish attitudes but eventually sees the joy of harmony.
It begins with the stage set with 10 dancers seated in black suits at the rear – looking the part of a small orchestra minus their instruments – while dancer Vourneen Ni’Cainin readies to conduct.
The widely familiar first movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony starts up and the music’s adrenaline incites a rich assortment of formations as Vourneen leads impeccably with crisp, quick-fire strokes that send out pulses of energy to an obedient ensemble.
But aberrations begin to seep in and, later, classical music’s orderliness is interrupted by the freedoms explored in contemporary music when dancer Amelie Piccinin bursts through in badass punk style.
Thereon, it’s an amusing struggle between Vourneen and Amelie that results in a wildly chaotic and expressive affair and lots of impressively executed arrangements of dancers and their chairs.
Its central chaotic and fragmented dynamics become a tad lengthy but in the midst of it there is plenty of eye-catching work, including Eden Kew’s wonderful acrobatic aerial turns.
Truce and unity appear to finally take form in this snappy, fun and mostly frenetic piece with lots of dashing staccato movements and a plump idealistic heart.
At times, the show teeters on the edge of desperate-to-impress flashiness and instant gratification on the lines of reality television dance competitions such as So You Think You Can Dance. Nevertheless, Scott and Tim’s sharp and skilful artistic sensibilities shine through together with the strength of their dancers.
The MC Showroom, 50 Clifton Street, Prahran
Performance: Friday 9 February 2024
Season: 8 – 11 February 2024
For more information, visit: www.scimmdance.com.au for details.
Image: Meg Ferrier and Cassie Peele in Mechorstra – photo by T-Studio
Review: Paul Selar