Pure beauty through simplicity of the body in motion and stillness
Dear Sydney Dance Company,
I am taking leave from the usual reviewer’s job because your recent touring work, The Land of Yes and The Land of No, deserves such a reprieve.
I simply want to thank you.
Thank you for the simplicity of the whole piece and the subsequent beauty and purity that arose from it. This time of year can be very stressful with longer work hours and extra work requirements, deadlines to meet and so on.
I arrived at the Canberra Theatre needing many things, among them a holiday, warm weather and a simple reprieve from others’ expectations.
From the first moment of dark and flicker of fluorescent light from the simple set piece I entered another space and this is one of the main reasons I go to the theatre. At this moment, with the simple focus on the body and its precise expression through movement and stillness, I was made human again. The Land of Yes and No is the holiday I craved, a weekend getaway to a landscape of utmost beauty that at once reminds you of how small you are and how important your existence is in viewing such beauty.
The lack of characterisation was just what I needed; no story to follow, no theme to dissect. To be moved was enough. To feel connected to my body through others and be reminded of the depth, beauty and uniqueness of the soul and its absolute need to be expressed through the body.
After the show, I heard people discuss the influence of Martha Graham and a bygone approach to dance theatre, along with the stark difference to the work of Graham Murphy. But the main comment I heard about this piece was the sublime place we were drawn into, from the moment the work began. We were held there, moved, breath taken, at times in a trance like state. Even the few moments of imperfection were perfected by their place in the whole experience. So again, thank you for making me feel human again and reminding me why we should all spend our money on 80 minutes of deep purity and beauty, just like we would a weekend away with our lover or a retreat to a day spa.
Please thank the dancers for their lifetime of athletic focus and commitment to their craft. Please thank Rafael Bonachela for sharing this special piece with us in Australia. Please thank the production team and crew for quietly making this work possible, initially and then show after show. If I missed anyone, I apologise. Thank you Sydney Dance Company. Rejuvenated, reminded and deeply human is just what I needed.