JOANNE Koh took a journey through dance with the Flare Dance Ensemble as they performed personal stories of love, happiness, anguish, joy and loss in their latest production, “Revelation”.
The Lithuanian Club Theatre was buzzing with life. Audiences filled the theatre engrossed in excited chatter, eager for the night’s entertainment to start.
The show in question was performed by the University of Melbourne’s Flare Dance Ensemble. Entitled Revelation: the awakening of an unknown secret, this year’s production surrounded the themes of expression and exposure. The dancers of Flare, or “Flarians”, as they like to call themselves, revealed stories of themselves through dance moves that spanned a diverse amount of genres.
A total of 13 dance pieces were created by various choreographers, telling stories of whimsy and romance while more emotional pieces stemmed from issues close to their heart.
The show opened with its promotional trailer; a girl stumbling upon a group of dancers practising their moves. Looking bewildered and fascinated, she soon attempts to dance and is later offered a ribbon, a symbol of acceptance to the Flare dance group. Befitting the theme of revelation, the trailer set the mood for the rest of the night and upon its conclusion, the stage came alive in a burst of dance for the first piece, “Viral”.
“Viral” was an energetic dance piece to the sound of K-Pop and had the audience cheering and whooping. Described as a collection of short dance items, the piece evoked expressions of seduction, heartbreak and (in Flare’s words) “sexed up androids”, which are prevalent themes in K-Pop dance and music.
Needless to say, the dance moves were SEXY.
It was a smart move to open the show with this crowd favourite genre as it pumped up the audience and set the standard for the rest of the night.
The next performance, choreographed by Flare’s artistic director, Aileen Tan, was a romantic piece in the lyrical genre involving elements of ballet and contemporary dance. Set to Lady Antebellum’s “Just a Kiss”, it was a a stunning vision of moving colours and light, complete with twirling, leaps and swishing dresses.
Throughout the night, the pieces varied, sharing hidden secrets with every performance. “Mistakes” by Eric Wong drew from his pastas a former gambler. “Giving It All Up” by Jonathan Yeo brought to life a tale of breaking out of one’s comfort zone and reaching a more fulfilled life while “S.W.A.G”, by Tash Ghani, rebuts the notion women are one-dimensional, giving voice to the strength and capability of women in the hip hop dance genre.
But perhaps the most touching performance of the night was its closing number, choreographed by Jenn Ma. ”Journey” was dedicated to her father who passed away recently from cancer. The story expressed all of the complex emotions Jenn and her family experienced in finding acceptance and healing. The sense of melancholy and frustrations were depicted in the use of low lighting and staggered moves, each dancer putting that little bit more of themselves in their art , anguish and loss carved into their faces.
While a powerful emotional piece, “Journey” was balanced by more light hearted pieces to maintain the spirit of the audience. Performances like “Party Rocketeers”, “Thriller”, and “Rain” celebrated the fun side of life – particularly “Rain’, which Flare explained as, “It’s raining and all we want to do is dance.” So maybe it did not reveal choreographer Jonathan Yeo’s deepest, darkest secret, but it did bring a sense of lightness and whimsy to the overall production of Revelation.
Throughout the night, Flare’s dancers performed impeccably, displaying skill sets across different genres. There were instances where the synchronisation was out but that was quickly regained. Formation of the dancers’ positions could have been made better in other instances to give a more dynamic impact.
Nonetheless, Flare Ensemble delivered a top notch production across a range of genres that had the theatre erupting in applause at the end of the night.