Ethereal, striking and commanding against the backdrop of Botanic Park’s gumtrees, dancers in red were followed by a spotlit stage in the dark. The primal movements carried a distinct flow that pulled us into their trance. “DOM” echoed through our throats as the bass drums came down and the dancer’s arms came up like a phoenix, announcing their rebirth.
From Townsville in Far North Queensland, Dancenorth brought their electric revival NOISE to WOMAD audiences over four days across multiple performances in Botanic Park. WOMADelaide attracts an unparalleled line up of international and domestic cultural performers, and Dancenorth was no exception.
Recruiting one hundred volunteer drummers from all over Adelaide and giving them weeks of training, NOISE used the power of percussion to reverberate through the audience and remind us what it means to be together again. To a symphony of booming instruments from Taikos, snare drums, Djembes, bass drums, floor toms, shakers and a drum kit, six contemporary dancers moved to the deep rhythm, sucking us into their trance.
Drawn from a dynamic contemporary collaboration between Kyle Page (Artistic Director and Co-CEO) and Amber Haines (Associate Artistic Director), the sense of imagination and creating together as one community was apparent.
“This was the antidote to fear”, said Kyle. “We wanted to create an exhilarating experience for the audience, a sense of connection to each other in experiencing the joy and humanity of live gatherings again”.
Engaging local percussionists is just one way Dancenorth continues to live its values of collaboration and artistic exchange, seeking to involve the places and people where they perform. Giving the opportunity to untested drummers, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, NOISE is a cacophony of diversity. Composed by Costa Hagiaglou, a North Queenslander, the musical score was Australian rhythmic talent at its finest.
NOISE was a performance of dramatic contemporary dance that got audiences out of their seat, and reminded us of the magnetic power of movement, joy and community. It brought back the togetherness we have all been missing.
“We wanted to bring exuberant joy, to bring the community back to life”, said Amber. And that they did. As the ensemble took a final bow, exuberant joy is all you felt – joy that they are here, that we are together, that we are alive.
NOISE again showed us why Dancenorth is a force to be reckoned with in the Australian dance landscape.
– Louise Gleeson with Chloe Tanner
Photos by Sahil Choujar
NOISE was originally commissioned and presented by the North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) in 2019.
Catch them on tour from late 2022, dates soon to be released.