It’s a Man’s world at ACPA’s Blaque Bordello.
The Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) dance majors put on a sumptuous feast for the eyes at the Judith Wright Centre last week with the high-camp, velvet edged, feather-boa-draped Blaque Bordello – a cabaret in eleven vignettes. Under the guiding hand of renowned choreographer Brian Lucas, the audience was invited to gather around the cabaret catwalk and drink in the bodies on show, joining the debauched rank and file of the world’s oldest profession – we were paying for the peep were we not?
Brian Lucas, master of the creep, didn't disappoint as he presented a shrivelled, lurking, cash wielding John who was despised and desired all at once and the visual poetry of pluck was just stunning. Beginning the dance, he seductively partnered a double bass but the instrument is soon replaced with Laura Andrews who obediently moves at his whim.
Blaque Bordello however was about celebrating ACPA’s talent and they certainly boast some shining stars. Don't Touch, a homo-erotic, awe inspiring bath-tub piece (along the lines of international circus sensation Soap) show-cased the amazing skill and sweeping, swooning control of dancers Kenny Johnson and Tyrel Dulvarie. Dulvarie also wooed the audience with his gorgeous voice in his rendition of Etta James’ iconic 'It's a Man's World'.
The series of vignettes are strung together with quotes from celebrated thinkers and personalities from Charlie Chaplin to Harold Pinter, some wise and some surreal. The pairing of a quote from the infamous creep from the history books – the Marquis de Sade (“One must do violence to the object of one's desire”) – with the boys in the bath-tub alludes to the dark and dangerous side of the life of a pretty rent-boy.
But, it is a man’s world and a world of man’s making and it was certainly the case that the male dancers stood out in this production. The women of ACPA are more often accessories, a frilly, feathery chorus line to fill in the gaps. Whether intentional or not, it speaks volumes.
ACPA are an exciting and surprising group of young artists and it is wonderful to glimpse the beginnings of some successful careers. I highly recommend keeping an eye out for future ACPA events.