finding centre: review
Trisha Dunn, dancer and choreographer, establishes a sense of control and balance as she tries to make sense of the conflicting demands the world throws at her. Her show Finding Centre held at Gasworks Theatre is an exploration of universal struggle, trying to find centre with the physical, mental and spiritual state. Using stimulating visual imagery and projected images, Trisha engages the audience with a beautifully choreographed live performance.
Finding Centre seeks meaning from an ever-evolving society set with perpetual expectations and competitions. Within the amalgamation of a chaotic life, lies peace and serenity. But the journey to find this little ounce of contentment could be quite a tedious one. Inner battles are fought as we surf across terrains of obstacles in modern life. The show sends you drifting away into the realms of infinity. The soul and universe is compared to a materialistic life copious with tangible emotions that make a human.
The artist exposes blatant truths and the monotony of life through film and solo dance. The performance begins with Trisha appearing to hang ethereally in mid-air, blanketed in darkness. As the show progresses, it is revealed that Trisha is actually balancing herself between two large boxes that are panoramic screens. With powerful strokes and magnificent poise, Trisha emblazons her stamina by maintaining her composure as she flawlessly lifts herself and swings within a rift between the two screens.
A sombre, electronic bass permeated an ethereal aura to the performance, adding to the tenacity. Jason Lam and Adam Synnott as visual artists outdid themselves with the projections, meeting diverse artistic expectations. The panoramic screens flashed pieces of paper fluttering away that seemed to depict the tumultuous mind and hassles of life. Trisha’s dance routine tensed and reached a peak as the papers disintegrate into nothing. Each dance piece unveils different perceptions of coping with the melodrama of life and restoring balance.
She moves forward to attempt a perfect introduction of herself and ends up stuttering, throwing off her composure. The gesture of ‘pleasing others’ and providing ‘the perfect image’ is torn apart with her obvious faults. Her stutters turn into a rhythmic bass as the music falls in tune with her speech and out flows another impeccable dance routine.
The next acts again combine screen projections with live performance. The visuals depict Trisha’s body in a state of trance. Within this larger than life, sleep-induced body, lies a miniature version of Trisha’s body at the centre, like a baby in a womb. The imagery seemed to depict birth and the magic of new life, laced with music that resembled light tinkling of subtle bells in the background. This soul-awakening act lets you attune with your inner self, as you try to grasp the unsolvable mystery of the universe subconsciously.
The artist adroitly repeats motifs throughout the acts, creating ample shapes – raw animalistic gestures, rotating arms with powerful strokes like an exercise regime, mechanical movements – and adheres to a strong, impeccable choreography.
The performance goes on to playback a pint-sized version of Trisha parading the shores of a beach with systematic dance routines. A live version of Trisha entwines with the film and tries to interact with the miniature playback of herself. By adding a spark of humour in trying to ‘understand herself better’, Trisha adds new found vigour to the performance. She gets the audience chanting ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, lending a refreshing break from the hypnogogic acts.
The next act integrates mechanical, robotic broken-record like dance routines concordant with the visual imagery on the screen. It seems to depict life as a monotonous machine that can be controlled and at times gets too predictable with systematic routines. Or it could dig deeper and display the invisible gears of uncontrollable fate.
With simple artefacts like a glass bowl of water and a chair, Trisha lights the set with dynamicity. An explosion of emotions climaxing, coupled with elements like holding breath over intervals, lays bare the various facets of life. The performance compares different perspectives of personality, definitive character traits and conflicting opinions. By balancing these torrents of emotions, Trisha attempts to gather composure and find her centre. There’s no way out of limitless, uncanny thoughts. This pushes us into action and makes it all the more necessary to find a safe haven and re-establish a sense of equilibrium spiritually and physically.
The Interpretive imagery advances to lull the audience with an ocean of tall grass, creating waves in tune with the hypnotic music. The lighting flaunted the power-packed performance, manifesting the dancer’s best moves. The design, music and meditative aura lets the audience dip into a thought provoking phase, opening the mind to limitless possibilities. Trisha’s explosive energy only seemed to strengthen and her poises more refined, throughout the sets. Providing subtle changes in atmosphere and maintaining a perfect balance between power and humour, Trisha hit a smack-bang, untarnished performance.