Catapult Dance Choreographic Hub, Propel International and Regional Residency, February 9
In a huge coup for the Newcastle arts and dance scene, Cadi McCarthy of Catapult Dance has started off 2019 on a strong note through her commission of British choreographer Rachel Erdos.
Erdos is a prolific and internationally renowned choreographer originally hailing from Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK. Having based herself in the creative hub of Tel Aviv, Israel, it is a lovely way to mark her Australian choreographic debut by beginning in the southern hemisphere city named after her own hometown.
McCarthy and Erdos met in Sweden at an IL Dance.
Erdos brings with her the remarkably talented Tomer Giat from Israel to add a second international voice to the team of gifted local artists from the Catapult team - Allie Graham, Mikayla Nangle and Alexandra Ford.
Erdos, who in her spare time, is a guest lecturer at Brown University, has put together a remarkably cohesive and thought-provoking work in just 10 days. The theme of the work tackles concepts of "Loneliness", an increasingly relevant topic of discussion in our social media-soaked society.
The piece integrates a mix of dancer-audience interaction, spoken word, and even singing from one of the multi-talented artists.
The themes challenge the audience to re-examine what "dance" is, and how it can be used as medium to communicate and confront us with social issues.
On a physical level, the work is impressive, and the dancers take on the mixed mediums of expression with energy, focus, and technical skill.
All four dancers are strong movers, with individual strengths and abilities that cause one to question pre-conceived ideas of how men and women can and should move.
As McCarthy informs us after the work, this project has been very quickly put together, throwing the dancers and choreographer into the deep end in terms of their artistic relationship to one and other.
This in itself calls to attention the skill of the young dancers. How many of us can say we have had the confidence to dive into a new creation, tackling an emotionally dense subject, with people we had no prior relationship to, and perform it for a large audience after less than two weeks?
I take my hat off to Erdos, McCarthy and the four dancers who evidently worked tirelessly in the pursuit of creating an authentic, honest and confronting work.
I look forward to seeing what will grow in the next installment of this collaboration.