Perfect Pairs and Odd Couples

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 January, 2011, 12:00am

Perfect Pairs and Odd Couples
Fringe Theatre
Reviewed: Jan 7

Perfect Pairs and Odd Couples presents works by three pairs of performer/choreographers, two from Australia, one from Hong Kong. Subtitled 'new evolutions of the dance duet', the three pieces offer widely differing approaches to that staple of the art of dance.

Sue Peacock and Stefan Karlsson's light-hearted Sprung is agreeable, without rising beyond being mildly entertaining. There is little actual dance; much of the piece consists of dialogue and repeated changes or exchanges of clothing.

In contrast, the other Australian work, Project Blah Blah, by Jo Lloyd and Deanne Butterworth, is a tense examination of two people seeking to communicate with each other and being unable to do so. The relationship is ambiguous - are the two women lovers, sisters, mother and daughter? - but their desperation to connect emotionally is palpable. The choreography conveys this powerfully, although at times the same steps are performed first by one dancer then the other. The movement is fast, at times frenzied and the use of hand movements is particularly strong. In a striking moment towards the end, the dancers at last make contact by touching hands with awkward affection.

The Moment I Saw It (below) by Hong Kong's Li Yong Jing and Lam Po is the only piece to focus on the duet's traditional domain of romantic love. Tightly structured (for once a work that could be longer instead of needing to be cut), skilfully choreographed and full of emotional resonance, this is a gem.

It opens intriguingly with Lam laying out a kind of chessboard of sheets of white paper and Li moving hesitantly from square to square. Each dance solo is of exceptional intensity and the piece closes with a tender duet. Using the simplest of means, Li and Lam have made a piece that is striking visually (the black and white chessboard is most effective) and enhanced by an excellent choice of music. Original, moving and beautifully performed by its creators, it deserves to be seen again.