“Revel in your Body” is part of the USA Dance on Screen package alongside “subMERGE”, pictured here (photograph supplied)

Revels in your mind

By Sergey Kundik

As a concept that emerged from trampolining in wheelchairs; dancers Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson, and director Katherine Helen Fisher, set off their audience on an adventure into the slowed-down world of their own in their dance film Revel in your Body. Reveling in the sunlight at an urban car park setting, we embark on their journey with an image of linked arms supporting one another as they gaze into each other’s eyes, and rotate in wheelchairs both balancing on one wheel. From this point on the wheelchairs signify the potential of enabling bodies defying the societal view of those in wheelchairs as disabled. After all, in this work the dancers balance on the railings, hold each other in an acrobatic manner and make jumps with the wheelchairs that spring; the dancers cannot be defined by the reductionist term disabled.

The director optimises the viewpoint of these two dancers by using zoomed shots that make it seem as though the dancers are levitating in mid-air. This impressive look is cleverly curated to the music with accents of the melody highlighting the lift or drop of the dancers who emerge and submerge back in slow motion. This choice of slow-motion enhances the details of the choreography and allows the audience to connect with every detail of the movements and the expression of catching a flight. The idea of lifting up in the air in slow motion and falling down heavily in real time gives insight into some of the obstacles that may dis-able these dancers or perhaps restrict their access because of the their use of the wheelchairs despite desperately wanting the right to be light and free. And escape from gravity that we all desire.

The relaxed and carefree attitude in the dancers’ body language and their faces when they fall is mesmerising, I revel in their movement. Music journeys through; sections are slow and passive and build to lively, playful melody and rhythm that shapes the story and supports the mood of this piece. The dancers and their moods and movements uplifting this work perhaps signify the first steps to freedom. Catching one dancer in mid-air, the other dancer soars like a bird and looks ecstatic before dropping once again. Their costumes, of brass and silver, reflect these rays of sunlight that drive their souls as they soar into the sky finishing the piece on a high note, quite literally.

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JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience

JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience

24th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience 30 August – 11 September 2022 (hybrid festival)