Bromance

I went to see a dance show last night. Finally.

It felt so good! I was so excited about my art form, it’s possibilities and it’s quirks… I recognised no-one in the crowd (unusual given the smallness of the dance world) so it was an experience which filtered constantly throughout my head, an indulgent, analytical indulgence…

Performed at Melbourne’s Meat Market as part of the Next Wave festival 2010, here’s what I thought:

bro.mance (n, informal) A close but nonsexual relationship between two men. [c21: a blend of bro(ther) + romance”

Bromance is a humorous and quirky examination of brotherhood, dealing with the pressures that age and personal situations can have on this relationship. Dancers and co-choreographers Alisdair MacIndoe and Adam Synnott have created a work that essentially falls into three parts, bringing together different elements that form and shape a relationship that can be pre-determined by many differing factors.

In the first section, synchronicity reigned. Two men, strutting around in pedestrian clothes seemed to exist in their own world, connected by the similarities of the things they were expressing. Moving through sporting references, drinking references and more, these dancers began to build an idea of lifestyle, of individual growth and development. These references continued to evolve, including the remaining two dancers to create scenes of joviality and camaraderie.

The second section seemed saturated in the idea of isolation. Freeze-frame scenes found one man continually extracted developing softness and a humanity within a primarily rigid boundary. The third section to me seemed to finally land on the notion of the whole work – brotherhood. Many complicated and uniform duos brought together the idea of like, love and friendship accompanied by some unique visual imagery.

The first thing that struck me about this work was the space it inhabited. Performed in the Arts House Meat Market, the extent of the room was enormous, and with only four performers at most, the space seemed to somewhat consume this small group. The space, the electronic music and the lighting all seemed to bring a sense of isolation and loneliness. Perhaps this is the journey of the male brother, but it seemed to lack the warmth of a relationship.

Finally, with the third section approaching, I was gratified with this glimmer of warmth and the possibility of connection and friendship. It was a long time coming. Predictable moments and developments in the first two sections were occasionally frustrating, not pushing to the limits conceptually or physicality. I felt a plateau and wanted so much more from this subtle statement. Finally, I was rewarded with what I had hoped would develop all along. Clever use of voice and lighting heightened this sensation and the quirky antics of the dancers confounded these moments. There were some clever use of visuals and references to computer games (“Brick and “Pong” I mean you).

Overall, I found this to be a thoughtful piece with a good development. I would have liked to see more warmth in the work, a closer idea of love – be it pure or laced with frustrations – but it was well structured, executed and composed. Perhaps the inability to convey the enormity of a brotherhood is exactly what can and should be conveyed.

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