Erasga's Shifting Geography
Dates and Venue 29 July - 9 August 2013 | The Cultch, 1895 Venables Street
Choreographer/Instuctor Alvin Erasga Tolentino Dancers Billy Marchenski, Alison Denham, Martin Inthamoussu, Rafaele Giovanola, Victoria Miranda and Samuel Guist.
Reviewer Stephanie Johnston
This is the third and final round with CO ERASGRA's pre-production piece for Shifting Geography. The dancers are already warming up and stretching on the stage while Tolentino introduces them.
Dance commences and Alison Denham, clad in black heels and a clear rain slicker over exercise clothing, travels across the floor. Her movement is erratic, sharp and sudden; her pony-tail bobs with the movement. After she flitters about on the stage the other five dancers come into view. The dancers finish standing on the stage looking directly at the audience, looking lost, vacant and searching, intensely thought-provoking.
Our last dancer/speaker is the artistic director of Cocoon Dance and collaborator with CO.ERASGRA, Rafaele Giovanola. She is the recipient of the 2010 Culture Prize by the Canton of Valais in Switzerland and has been the principal dancer of Frankfurt Ballet under William Forsythe for eight years. She started performing at the age of five. Her mother was very artistic and she remembers always going to theatres and galleries as a child.
She now revels in the freedom of having her own theatre which sustains her ambitions with her own team. She has no formal education in choreography, yet she is a vibrant, dynamic artist. Rafaele explains how she feels a lot of people see contemporary dance as a question mark, meaning that it is not tangible as every country has distinct trends or tastes. However, she strongly feels that even in confusion, there will always be dance.
Her manner is approachable, even building a rapport with dancers after the show. She is honest about working in the arts and feels there needs to be more acknowledgment from grant applications, like Switzerland.
It was an incredible encounter to approach and talk to such an accomplished dancer. Shifting Geography will be a unique experience, for dancers and artists a like, and it will be worth seeing in February.
© 2013 Stephanie Johnston