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Fast tracking young NT dance

Joanna Barrkman: Tracks, FAST

Byron Low, FAST Byron Low, FAST
photo Mark Marcelis Studio 7
The future looks bright for the 30 young dancers who recently performed in FAST. Be they aspiring professional dancers or simply dance enthusiasts, their verve, skill and exuberance was the major reason FAST season was a sell-out.

At break-neck pace these ensemble performers swerved, veered and propelled themselves across the Mitchell Street car park, a concrete space canopied by sky, atop Darwin's newest multi-level complex. This central city venue encouraged site-specific choreography which had dancers sweeping across the concrete expanse one moment and performing tight, discrete vignettes making use of ramps, split levels and steel fittings the next.

Particularly pleasing were the high production values. Visually striking costumes, each a variation on the last, added to the frenzied chaos while also creating an overall design aesthetic. An eclectic music score, which included pop, jazz and hip hop, seamlessly evoked the rhythmic pulse of ensemble dance.

If the pace was ultimately too busy—intensity without relief becomes gruelling—FAST nonetheless accentuated the work's exploration of the desires, pressures and choices that young people experience as they attempt to seize all of life's options and possibilities. The articulation of these themes through movement assaulted the audience and clearly conveyed the reeling momentum of young people traversing a technologically mediated, globalised world. Contrast came in the shape of twists and turns between dance forms of all persuasions. From the balletic to back flips, with gestures from Indian folk dance and the Highland fling, it all formed a choreographic entirety through which the dancers literally flew.

Produced by Tracks, FAST marks a new era in Darwin dance. Artistic directors David McMicken, Tim Newth and Julia Quinn are to be congratulated for their ongoing encouragement of young Northern Territory dancers. Experiences such as FAST build upon the excellent work of Darwin's dance teachers, opening the way for the next wave of professional dancers and choreographers.

Tracks, FAST, direction and concept David McMicken, Tim Newth, Julia Quinn, Mitchell Street Centre Car Park, Darwin, May 12-15

RealTime issue #62 Aug-Sept 2004 pg. Onl

© Joanna Barrkman; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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