De Novo Review

Went to see the latest offering of the Sydney dance company on Friday- De Novo.
It was a last minute ticket purchase and I had debated about Stalls or Circle. In the Walsh bay theatre I had always watched from the stalls before, but the available tickets in the circle were in the middle at the front so I went for them.
When the dancers came out in half black suits I had a passing wish that I was watching below in the stalls so that I could get the full effect of the “half bodies”, but as soon as the lights changed and the dancers’ reflections were visible on the floor I changed my mind and was grateful to be watching from above as it looked amazing! The different compositions were all beautiful, and not obvious choices; first two men with one female dancer in an impressive routine. Then I was entranced by two strong men who were delicately and tenderly supporting each other with their intimate and sensual dance. There was also an energetic and captivating female solo, who made beautiful shapes with her reflection in the floor. When the whole company danced together, the lighting gave the effect of them dancing on rippling waves and enhanced the reflections to give an impression of hundreds of synchronised creatures, it was mesmerising. The music by Nick Wales and Sarah Blasko fitted perfectly.
After the interval, “Fanatic” changed the pace and tone completely, bringing us a theatrical and comical view of the fans of “Alien vs Predator.” Despite only having a slim knowledge of the films, I was entertained and marvelled at the way the female dancer in particular expressed her body being possessed.
“Cacti” continued the playful theme and encompassed a lot of different elements. A string quartet accompanied the dancers at the start, blending the traditional with a modern setting. It looked like the troupe were simply having fun with the props and trying out lots of different ways of using them. The piece gently mocked highbrow artistic criticism and was generally light hearted. There was a cute duet complete with the dancers’ commentaries and some other clever moments.
All in all, three very different pieces, something for everyone. I went with 3 friends and we all disagreed about what was our favourite, but that’s art for you (and also precisely the point that Cacti was making).


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