Glow, a choreographed piece by well-known Australian choreographer Gideon Obarzanek, was technically flawless, though not particularly moving

Gideon Obarzanek’s choreographed piece Glow was a visual marvel. In a riveting solo performance Sara Black moved expertly beneath the “glow” of a video tracking system. Glow, presented by Chunky Move, Melbourne’s leading dance company, was staged last month at Ranga Shankara. It was presented as part of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2013 and the Oz Fest.

Technology and dance came together in some parts and in opposition in others throughout the performance. Shapes, forms, boundaries emerged along side a range of emotions: liberation, happiness, distress, anger, possession and comfort. The transformation of the dancer from a person to a body capable of myriad movements — an aspect Gideon finds interesting — was particularly captivating. At times, one viewed the dancer as a moving body. When she yelled out lines or animal cries, one snapped back to reality. Despite there being no story, a narrative evolved, left to the interpretation of the audience. The 30-minute performance was long enough to engage the viewer and short enough to hold the attention of the audience.

Technically, Glow was flawless. The software creation by Frieder Weiss and music and sound by Luke Smiles were excellent. But the performance did not leave one deeply moved. Gideon’s endeavour to take art to another level, as his wont, is praiseworthy though the emphasis on technology detracted from the performance.

The documentary Artscape on Gideon’s career was screened after the performance. It traced not only Gideon’s experiments with multimedia in dance but also showed the challenges artistes encounter. Gideon’s philosophy that an artiste must be prepared for failure was one every artiste could identify with.

Gideon Obarzanek studied at the Australian Ballet High School. Gideon founded Chunky Move in 1995 and was its artistic director till 2012. He has danced with the Queensland Ballet and the Sydney Dance Company and been an independent performer and choreographer with various dance companies.

Keywords: Glow