The We Know Melbourne team are long term fans of contemporary dance company, Chunky Move and were excited to attend their latest show, Miss Universal last week.
Upon entering the studios, we were told it was an open space and we were free to move between rooms, bars and couches. Unsure what to expect, we first entered the room where there were two tiny sculptures in the middle in amongst the rest of the audience. We had a brief introduction from one of the members of the Chunky Move board and also the artistic director, Anouk. We were told that the performance was going to a blend of theatre and gallery installations.
Proceeding to the other room, we could see the chairs but they were up against the wall so once again, we weren’t sure whether we’d be standing up the whole performance or whether the show would span across the two rooms. Soon we spotted the dancers (the only way we could tell was that they were barefoot) as they moved through the standing crowds. They walked from one spot to the next, taking a seat at the end of each walk with a portable shining light in hand. Was it part of the show? Were they setting up for something? We just weren’t sure.
Then, the seats from the wall started rolling up as the 4 women made their way up to the top. Dressed all the same, in mustard yellow Quiksilver wetsuits with long blonde hair, they formed a collective and wrestled their way down the rows to the soundtrack of a live manipulated harp and other distorted sounds. Suddenly each girl lost their sense of identity as they appeared to morph into one giant human ball of arms and legs and hair flowing everywhere. Eventually hitting the floor, they wrestled their way across the whole room, keeping together as a tight unit. The audience shifted and moved around the dancers, as they bounced from one corner of the room to another, before taking to the air in harnesses and ropes in pairs, one counterbalancing the other.
The next scene then brought that real sense of an art installation mixed with performance and was our favourite part of the show. Called ‘Love Talk’ the girls, lay on the floor with a range of props including sculpted bendy legs, a wig and a half torso while in the background, visual artist and sculptor, Claire Lambe got to work, welding behind a curtain. The girls voices were aurally distorted while they discussed what love meant to them.
Eke’s show was thought provoking and interactive, removing the usual separation of the audience and performer. The idea of identity and us collectively morphing into one unit before finding our own but still truly being connected through thoughts and movements. Miss Universal left us thinking about the ideas and concepts of the show long after the performance was over.
When: Until December 12, 2015
Where: Chunky Move, South Melbourne