There is a little concept talked about in theatre and literature called the alienation effect. It suggests that stories become most compelling when what seems familiar to us, suddenly becomes alien, estranged, distant. This is what I love about great dance choreography. Bangarra Dance Theatre's Lore is my latest inspiration: Butoh-esque men covered in blood dancing with she-oak to the tenderness of mystical turtles hailing from the Dreamtime. In these performances, ordinary activities take on supernatural qualities; and the audience is unsettled, disturbed even, by the treatment of familiar movements, conventions and storylines. Of course, there are beautiful dances that enchant us because they are nurturing, soft, natural, joyful. For some reason, I cannot do a straight performance like this. I actually rally against it. There always has to be an element of the uncanny; the twisted, the mystical. Contrasting ugly and beautiful; convention with radical resistance.
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