Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-oo. Sometimes it's good to remember your favourite things. Definitely after you've been locked down, maybe dancing on your own, doing a COVID isolation - things like watching live art, full of movement, music and stunning performances. Pitching your evening into a theatre romanced with costumes and dancers stretching themselves, and sending shivers up the spine.
Without such experiences, the world might not spin so well. And without travelling to the Canberra Theatre, you won't see the Quantum Leap ensemble's first class annual show, Terra Firma.
A part of dance company QL2, the show is a trio of performances, including work by international choreographer Melanie Lane. It also features the work of Cadi McCarthy and Steve and Lilah Gow.
Based in England, spending her time travelling the world to reinterpret her experiences onto the stage, Lane developed her section of the show during an intensive burst of creativity. Initially from Canberra.
"I had two weeks to make the work," she says. "It was extremely short, and during the peak of COVID."
Called "Metal Park", Lane says her choreography is about zooming in on those everyday interactions we have with material, and the material and objects that we take for granted. She uses that as a way to question our relationship to our material world.
Exposing herself and the dancers to the opportunity to explore props and objects to work through the show's ideas, the show's score was created by Lane's UK-based partner, music producer Chris Clark.
"I create my own independent work, which entails receiving arts funding from the Australia Council or many other kinds of funding bodies - I receive grants and sponsorships and things like that," she says.
"But then I've also worked with a lot of companies overseas and in Australia like Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc., West Australian Ballet, Australasian Dance Collective, Dancenorth, and Sydney Dance Company."
Her partner is a constant collaborator in her work: "Chris works with me together in dance and theatre, but he also mainly produces his own work." Signed to Warp Records, a British-based indie label, Clark has composed a 40-minute original score for this piece.
"Chris is an electronic music artist, but he often works with also acoustic instruments like strings and piano," Lane says. For this work, "it's pretty much all electronic and some sort of sound captured from materiality".
In terms of the dance piece itself, everything is composed in collaboration with the QL2 dancers.
"I don't make story ballets or anything like that," says Lane. "It's always quite abstract, contemporary work. And it's always very collaborative."
During the development process, Lane says the troupe concentrated on the journey of the work - the experience of the dancers from beginning to end and the transformation that happens.
Terra Firma is always here. It invites a connection to and sense of continuation with history and humanity. The internet, real world experiences, survival skills and life within the flotsam and jetsam of everyday existence. And a sense of the big, brown wide land the troupe calls home.
The final piece, meanwhile, is a result of the circumstances Lane and her dancers were going through at the time.
"It was peak COVID, so a lot of the dancers were zooming in. A lot of dancers were dropping, and were having to isolate. So it was actually a really challenging period," says Lane. "And a very short, intense creation time. So yeah, it was really challenging, you know, and really unusual."
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