‘HELIX’ takes its inspiration from the ‘double helix’ structure of our cell DNA, as it explores in dance the human condition. This 80-minute extravaganza by Daryl Brandwood, who was a nominee for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer’ in the 2010 Australian Dance Awards, is showing at the Heath Ledger Theatre, in the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Roe Street, Perth. Performed nightly at 8.00 pm until Saturday 11th June. There is a Saturday matinee at 2.00 pm.
HELIX reveals the sensitivity of being alive. Having this dazzling study of the ‘human condition’, crafted into a complete happening of vision and sound, helps open the door to our understanding of the journey through life and our daily responsibilities to each other, the planet and ourselves.
The stage is empty except for a black box in the centre of the stage. The rear screen lights up with a film depicting microscopic examination of cell mitosis – the world is beginning. We see neurons form and the signals sparking at the synapses; macrophages munch as blood circulates and gradually the screen is filled with the magic of outer space. The universe has been formed. Slowly from the box emerges a hand, then a leg, as gradually man is born. The auditorium is filled with the wonderful music of Max Richter, we are all alive.
The dancer moves around the stage like a small foal finding his strength. As 500 year-old anatomical drawings are projected, the living figure mirrors the illustrations. There follows an amazing series of exquisite photos of the human torso, we see the dancer’s muscles coming to life. A snow goose flies past and there is a cut to the dancer’s shoulders from the rear as he mimics the movement of the graceful bird’s wings.
Gradually to the song of ‘Dem Bones’ his skeleton is formed. He breathes in oxygen and he is fully developed and strong.
The second act commences with a look at the seedier side of life, as the dancer in black plastic and patent-leather high heels takes us on a night-time walk. He experiences sunrise and a variety of fauna. The man matures, old age and death cannot be far behind.
This is a vibrant partnership between W.A.’s very own Helpmann 2006 Award-winning ‘Best Male Dancer’, Daryl Brandwood, and Barry Moreland. Barry is acknowledged as one of Australia’s most eminent choreographers, he was the director of the West Australian Ballet for many years and thus gained a City of Perth’s Cultural Achievement Award. Having worked throughout the world, Barry has now created this innovative choreographic solo show for Daryl.
After gathering numerous international silver and gold medals for his dancing, coupled with a prestigious Melbourne Greenroom Award for ‘Best Emerging Artist’, it is not surprising to learn that Daryl Brandwood is recognised as one of Australia's leading dancers.
AFI Award-winning cinematographer Ian Batt has teamed up with film editor Cris Broadhurst. Their expertise has produced this blend of high-tech medical imaging (nothing too gory) and stunning shots of the human body, in an impeccable gigantic ‘filmscape’, crafting a total glittering happening in sight and sound (edited by Lee Buddle) for the audience. Mike Dunn helped with the special effects for one sequence. The lighting by Jon Buswell was mainly powerful side lighting, which gave depth to the dancer’s torso and excitement to the muscle movement. Daryl’s costumes (designed by Bruce McKinven) were by necessity simple to allow movement, but a times stunning as the materials were matched to the background theme.
This is the first time that I have experienced the acoustics of the new theatre being tested to the full, and with this wonderfully blended selection of new and orthodox music – from Max Richter to an Argentinean tango and on to Bach - the quality was amazing. I was sitting at the side of the auditorium and yet the balance of the notes was perfect. The timbre of the rich bass and cello music was clear. The quiet passages still carried beautifully, a superb auditorium.
This huge assortment of artistic ability and dance techniques ranged from tai chi, through yoga, to magnificent and exhilarating contemporary lithe gymnastics. Then on to the more traditional and conservative, yet still compellingly attractive tap dancing, where the choreographic movements were beautifully synchronised with the music and visuals. The full spectrum of show biz choreography brought alive in rapid succession.
Some may say that this production has similarities to Rafael Bonachela's ‘We Unfold’ that was also a blend of dancing, nature and video background, produced by the Sydney Dance Company late last year. However, this is a single performer giving a myriad of very different dance styles, with increased sensitivity and spectacular visual presentation.
This is not simply a ballet performance but a unique joyful experience. Was it good? The several curtain calls and a standing ovation answers the question.
Climbing Vine is offering a unique opportunity for performers unlike any other currently being offered in W.A.
A creative, intensive program, leading directly to opportunities for employment as a paid actor.